2014 CASE

Cop guilty of murdering fisherman in Lake Naivasha

In famous, six-year-old case, a Sh10,000 sheep was stolen and officer fired on fishermen blamed.

In Summary

• Police constable Evans Maliecha Wiyema was found guilty of the killing of Moses Kinyanjui Wanyoike on July 27, 2014.

• Trial lasted six years at Naivasha High Court; case involved theft of a Sh10,000 sheep. Case taken on by International Justice Mission.

 

An Anti-Stock Theft officer on Monday was convicted of the murder of a fisherman in Lake Naivasha in 2014. https://bit.ly/37DIds2

An Anti-Stock Theft officer on Monday was convicted of the murder of a fisherman in Lake Naivasha in 2014.

Police constable Evans Maliecha Wiyema was found guilty of killing Moses Kinyanjui Wanyoike on July 27, 2014.

This six-year trial, at the Naivasha High Court involved the theft of a Sh10,000 sheep. The case came to exemplify police impunity as the officer blamed other fishermen.

Sixteen prosecution witnesses testified before Justice Richard Mwongo who convicted the officer of murder.

Justice Mwongo ruled the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Maliecha shot Wanyoike at Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha.

The judge ruled the police officer acted recklessly and was not justified to shoot Wanyoike.

"I find and hold that the accused acted with mens rea (criminal intent) recklessly and in violation of the law. His actions were made all the more unacceptable because he did not report the incident but instead chose to assist in prosecuting the fishermen.

"His actions do not add up and do not support the defence of self- defence. Ultimately I find the accused guilty of murder and convict him," the judge ruled.

The officer will be remanded at Naivasha Prison until sentencing on April 8.

The victim's family was represented by the International Justice Mission.

IJM Kenya country director Benson Shamala said the judgment is a big step in holding errant police officers to account.

“Wanyoike is just one of many young men killed in unclear circumstances that show excessive use of force by police officers. We continue demanding accountability for any errant police officer who violates the law," Shamala said.

He also called for additional resourcing of Ipoa and the Internal Affairs Unit to fast-track cases under investigation.

“It’s worth noting that Wanyoike’s family had to wait for over five years to get justice,” Shamala said.

On the day Wanyoike was killed, he and two other fishermen - Johnson Ndichu and Douglas Tutu - were fishing at Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha when the officer shot him in the head at close range.

A day before the killing, a sheep belonging to Crescent Island was reported missing.

Maliecha and a colleague had gone to pursue thief or thieves when they saw the three fishermen and shot at them. Wanyoike died instantly.

After the shooting, in a bid to conceal the truth, the officer charged Johnson and Douglas with theft of a sheep worth Sh10,000. After learning of the injustice, the IJM took on the case to bring the facts before the court.

A magistrate acquitted Johnson and Douglas and said evidence was insufficient to prove they had stolen any sheep.

The Independent Policing and Oversight Authority investigated the killing and forwarded the file to the DPP who charged the officer with Wanyoike's murder.

(Edited by V. Graham)