Home Business Pangani killer cop: Plea taking for Rashid deferred for third time

Pangani killer cop: Plea taking for Rashid deferred for third time

by kenya-tribune

This is because the court is yet to determine his petition for protection from prosecutors and the civil society, who are pressing for his prosecution for allegedly killing the teenagers in March 2017.

The plea taking scheduled for Thursday (tomorrow February 9, 2023) has been deferred until March 3 when the High Court will rule on Mr Ahmed’s petition.

It is the third time the plea taking is being postponed. The first time was on December 8, 2022 when the plea taking was pushed to January 26, 2023. On that day, the officer failed to appear in court physically and joined the court using a virtual platform. 

The plea taking also failed to happen because the officer had not been subject to a mental assessment to confirm he is fit for trial.

Asked by presiding Judge Kanyi Kimondo why he had not turned up in court to answer to the charges, Mr Ahmed said that he had travelled to his rural area in Garissa County to attend to a family issue.

The court postponed plea taking to February 9 and ordered Mr Ahmed to surrender to the Garissa DCIO office so that he can be escorted to Mathari Mental Hospital for psychiatric assessment, which is a mandatory requirement for all murder suspects. 

His lawyer on Wednesday filed an urgent application objecting to the planned plea taking in view of a pending petition that is challenging the trial.

“Commencement and conduct of Mr Ahmed’s trial at the High Court is lacking in legal justification and logic,” said defence lawyer Danstan Omari.

He went on to state that “initiating a murder trial in the High Court compromises essential elements of Mr Ahmed’s inalienable right to a fair trial such as denial of a vital step in the appellate chain as provided for under Article 162 and 169 of the Constitution”.

The lawyer added that if Mr Ahmed pleaded to the charges at the High Court as planned, and his trial ends with a guilty verdict, he will have been deprived of a remedy such as that which he could have if the verdict was reached at a magistrate court.

If the case starts at a magistrate court he can move to the High Court for a retrial and can escalate the case to the Court of Appeal. But if the case commences at the High Court and he is found guilty, he can only lodge an appeal at the Court of Appeal. 

The Office of Director of Public Prosecutions want Mr Ahmed to answer charges of murdering teenagers Jamal Mohammed and Mohammed Dhair Kheri on March 31, 2017 at Amal Plaza in Eastleigh estate, Nairobi. In court documents, he says that during the alleged shooting of the pair, he was “operating in the line of duty and in self defence”.

The court granted orders for postponement of the planned plea taking on grounds that he will be prejudiced as his petition is yet to be determined.

The court adjourned the matter to March 3 when it will deliver a ruling.

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