Inquest into Baby Pendo murder concludes, court sets ruling date


Photo/ File
Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo (left) with Samantha Pendo's mother, Lancer Achieng in her home in Kilo, Kisumu County holding Baby Pendo's portrait, on August 16, 2017.

In Summary

  • Kisumu Senior Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo, while closing the inquest, said she will retreat and write her ruling which will be delivered on February 14, 2019.
  • The court was told that she succumbed to a blood clot in the brain after she was hit with a police baton on the head.

An inquest into the murder of six-month-old Baby Samantha Pendo concluded on Thursday at the Kisumu Law Courts.

Kisumu Senior Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo, while closing the inquest, said she will retreat and write her ruling which will be delivered on February 14, 2019. The magistrate noted that she hopes the late Baby Pendo will get a “valentine” gift, as the ruling date falls on February 14.

Baby Pendo died in August 2017 after allegedly being hit by police officers who were quelling violence that erupted after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner. The court was told that she succumbed to a blood clot in the brain after she was hit with a police baton on the head.

 

Several police officers, both junior and senior, risk arrest and prosecution, should the months’ long inquest that saw testimonies from over 20 prosecution witnesses, find them culpable for the death of the infant.

According to legal experts, there are three probable outcomes in the ruling. The Magistrate find sufficient evidence to convict the individuals for either murder or manslaughter or lack of sufficient evidence to link anyone to her death.

The Magistrate may also direct the prosecution to adduce further evidence for scrutiny and lastly the court.

On Thursday, two witnesses appeared before the inquest including the government chemist Joseph Gitonga who affirmed that the teargas canister found inside the victim’s house was lethal and posed risks of difficulty in breathing to the child.

Lawyers led by Richard Onsongo, while making their final submissions, urged the court to hold the police service and police bosses responsible for the murder of Baby Pendo since the police service could not identify individuals responsible for the murder.

The inquest, which was ordered by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), began in February 2018 and saw several high ranking police officers testify in court.

The baby’s parents, Joseph Abanja and Lencer Achieng also testified in the inquest.

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Story By Allan Obiero
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