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Flying squad officer on murder trial allowed to change defence lawyer

A flying squad officer accused of murdering an official of the troubled Nakuru Workers Cooperative Society and a woman friend has been allowed to change his defence lawyer by the High Court.

Lady Justice Jessie Lessit granted Mr Elias Mayaka Onsarigo’s request to be permitted to change his legal representation

Justice Lessit indulged Mr Onsarigo saying the “law allows a suspect to be represented by a lawyer of his choice.”

She directed the case be mentioned on November 29 to confirm the change of advocate and also to allow the accused to file an application to secure his release on bond pending trial and determination of the case.

State prosecutor Ms Catherine Mwaniki did not oppose the suspect’s application to be given more time to engage a lawyer to defend him in the case whose verdict is a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

The officer has denied to two counts of murder.

INVESTIGATIONS

On October 30, the accused pleaded to the charges after the judge allowed prosecution application by the director of public prosecution to have the case heard in Nairobi instead of Nakuru High Court.

The judge had been informed that the witnesses in the case needs to protected and since the accused police officer was based at Nakuru DCI and there are other officers who are linked in the murder still at large.

Onsarigo is alleged to have killed David Gitau, 46, who at the time of his death was the secretary of Nakuru Workers Cooperative Society, and his woman friend Beth Wandia at the Pipeline area in Nakuru town on June 7, 2017.

Their bodies were dumped at Ngong forest in Nairobi county.

The flying squad officer was first arraigned before Kiambu Law court’s for with prosecution seeking 14 days to complete investigations in the matter.

According to the prosecution, Onsarigo had been linked to the murder by mobile phone communication data. It is said that the officer was allegedly adversely mentioned by several witnesses in the case.

TRAIL OF MURDER

The lawyer Harun Ndubi had told the court the officer was recently transferred to Kitale from the DCI Nakuru.

The prosecution alleges since 2013, at least 10 people, most of them affiliated to the society, have been executed in a similar manner, yet no one has been arrested and prosecuted.

The killing of Gitau and Wandia brought to eight the number of officials and members of the society whose deaths have been linked to a row over a 64-acre land.

Five other officials of the society have been slain in mysteriously circumstances in the last five years.

The elected officials of the co-operative are alleged to have been mandated to oversee the process of acquiring title deeds for their members, a process that has not been completed since 1992.

The title deeds would legalise ownership of the alleged contested land that was subdivided to members.