CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Man charged with son's murder set free

The five-year-old was strangled.

In Summary
  • Accused denied the crime, or beating the child, saying he was a responsible parent.
  • Judge found the prosecution had not proved the charge of murder against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.
Nairobi court summons OCS Kamukunji
COURT ORDER: Nairobi court summons OCS Kamukunji
Image: THE STAR

A man accused by neighbours of strangling his five-year-old son has been set free by a court for lack of evidence.

Geoffrey Otieno was accused of committing the crime on November 6, 2013, at Kosovo in Athi River, Machakos county.

He denied the crime, or beating the child, saying he was a responsible parent. 

The prosecution lined a number of witnesses to testify against him.

Mercy Mbula testified that she received a call at 10pm informing her that a child had been killed. She went to the scene and found blood oozing from the child's mouth and nose, and a crowd threatening to lynch Otieno.

Cosmas Musyoki said he received also received call telling him that someone had strangled his son but he did not go to the scene.  

He said he informed the area District Officer and Athi River OCS.

Musau Kimuli testified that at 10pm some men came and told him that someone had been spotted struggling with a child.

He said later the accused was apprehended and led by wananchi to his house where the child's body was found.

Nathan Mutua testified that he was at his plot on September 8, 2013, when a man called Geoffrey Otieno approached him at 1pm and asked to rent a house. He later came with a five-year-old boy, Mutua said.

On the material day Mutua went to Otieno at 9pm to collect rent but he said he had no money. Mutua went back to his house, which is situated on the plot. 

He said he heard noises at 11pm and later learnt from the crowd that Otieno had been accused of killing his child and was about to be lynched.

Mutua said the child's body was found in Otieno's house.

Dr Fredrick Okinyi, who conducted the postmortem, said the cause of death was strangulation.

In his defence, Otieno said he was at work and later joined his family at Makadara estate in Athi River on the material day.

He said the plot caretaker called him to tell that his wife had differed with one of the tenants and had been arrested. He rushed to the police station.

Otieno said his wife was charged and remanded, and he was left alone with the children.

He told the court that later he came from work and found his children missing.

In the process of searching for them, he found a large crowd on Mutua's plot claiming to have seen the body of a child.

Otieno said he recognised the body as that of his missing boy. He denied killing the child and pointed out that none of the witnesses had been a witness to the crime.

On December 18, 2020, Justice David Kemei ruled the evidence produced was circumstantial.

“In the result it is my finding that the prosecution has not proved the charge of murder against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt. I find him not guilty and is accordingly acquitted of the charge. He is to be set at liberty forthwith unless otherwise lawfully held,” he ruled.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya