The inquest into the death of Keroche heiress Tecra Muigai will be heard at the Milimani law courts in Nairobi after a magistrate dismissed the DPP’s application to move it to Lamu.
Senior principal magistrate Zainab Abdul on Tuesday ruled that the Milimani court has proper jurisdiction to hold the inquest.
“HAVING CONSIDERED ALL THE SUBMISSIONS BEFORE THIS COURT, I FIND THAT THE PROPER JURISDICTION TO HEAR THE INQUEST IS MILIMANI LAW COURT,” THE MAGISTRATE RULED.
The magistrate said Tecra died in Nairobi after sustaining injuries in Lamu and the court has the responsibility to have witnesses tell what transpired.
She added that jurisdiction is everything in the hearing and a determination on who caused the death.
“SECTION 386 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE IS WHAT GUIDES THE INSTITUTION OF THE INQUEST. IT ALSO STATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH AND THE ROLE OF THE POLICE WHO ARE MANDATED TO INFORM THE NEAREST MAGISTRATE,” SHE SAID.
The magistrate scheduled the inquest to begin on February 24. The prosecution has 25 witnesses
In August, the Director of Public Prosecutions pressed for the inquest to be conducted in Lamu as that is where the key witnesses are based.
But Tecra’s mother, Keroche Brewereis CEO Tabitha Karanja, opposed the application.
Tabitha alleged that DPP Noordin Haji was under pressure from a third party not to prosecute those responsible for her daughter’s death.
In an affidavit, Tabitha said her family believed that the DPP was responding to instructions or pressure from a third party.
“AS A RESULT OF SUCH CONDUCT ON THE PART OF THE DPP, WE NO LONGER HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE DPP HANDLING THIS MATTER,” SHE SAID IN THE AFFIDAVIT.
Tecra died on May 2 at a Nairobi hospital while undergoing treatment.
Her boyfriend Omar Lali was arrested and kept in custody. The DPP dropped the murder case against him in July and ordered the inquest.
Tabitha wondered why the office of the DPP wanted to move the inquest to Lamu yet the family preferred Nairobi.
She said the family feared for their lives as boat transport is the main form of transport for accessing Lamu Island. Omar, she said, is an influential person among boat owners, operators and beach boys around the island.
Gitonga Riungu, a state prosecutor, said the DPP ordered the inquest because there was no evidence to sustain a murder charge against Omar.
The DPP also dismissed allegations by the Karanja family that it is their office that registered the inquest in Nairobi.
– The Star/ Carolyne Kubwa