Kenya: Court Declines to Continue Holding Tecra Muigai's Lover

A court in Lamu has rejected an application to continue holding in detention Omar Lali, the boyfriend of Keroche Breweries heiress Tecra Muigai who died after a fall.

This follows the expiry of the 21 days pre-trial detention of Mr Lali on Tuesday.

On May 4 this year, Lamu Principal Magistrate Allan Temba allowed d the police to detain Mr Lali for 21 days at the Lamu Police Station to enable them conduct comprehensive investigations into the suspected murder of Ms Muigai.

The case was to be mentioned on Tuesday, May 26, for the investigator to submit a report and the court to issue further directions.

The court session was held via video link.

EXTENSION

When appearing on the live court session on Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) applied for an extension of the detention of Mr Lali by another week.

The argument was that the DCI wanted Mr Lali to go with them to the crime scenes, including Jaha House in Shella, Lamu where Ms Muigai sustained the serious head injuries after she allegedly fell on the stairs and later died as she received treatment at a Nairobi hospital.

This particular visit would be the fourth one as the investigators had already taken the suspect to the scene three other times.

DECLINED

But while delivering the court's decision, Mr Temba refused to extend the pre-trial detention on various grounds.

First, the police had already visited the crime scene with Mr Lali three times and the suspect fully cooperated. The investigators already took evidence from the scene and that it will be excessive to keep Mr Lali in the station cell just so that the police revisit the scene of crime.

Secondly, the granted 21 days that have elapsed were more than sufficient but no conclusive evidence had been found to enable the DPP make a decision on what offence to charge or not to charge the suspect with.

Thirdly, the court argued that the pending phone extraction is not a process that requires Mr Lali to be in custody further.

The fourth ground was that the pending toxicology analysis does not require Mr Lali to be further detained as Ms Muigai's samples have already been taken and are being analysed independent of the suspect.

COMMUNITY TIES

The court also stated that Mr Lali has strong community ties and has a family.

It also argued that the police concurred that Mr Lali is not an immediate danger to the local community and the community itself has not posed any danger to the suspect and, therefore, giving bond will not pose a security risk.

"Lali has no capacity to interfere with witnesses as he actually doesn't know who they are. The court will therefore fix the bond terms on Wednesday at 2.30pm once Lali proves by documents his fixed abode," said Mr Temba.

KEROCHE DIRECTOR

Until her death on May 2 this year, Ms Muigai was the Strategy and Innovations Directors at Keroche Breweries.

The last-born daughter of the Keroche Breweries Chairman Joseph Karanja and CEO Tabitha Karanja was living with Mr Lali at the private house in Shella, Lamu when the accident happened.

Mr Lali was arrested on May 3, just a day after Ms Muiagi's death, and he has been in police custody as detectives continued with investigations into her death.

A post-mortem conducted by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor two weeks ago revealed that she died as a result of trauma to the left side of her face after she fell.

She was buried on May 16 in a private ceremony in Naivasha.

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