A Nairobi court has ordered for the detainment of a police officer investigating a rape case that has lasted for four years.
Makadara Senior Resident Magistrate Evelyn Nyongesa ordered the detainment of Police Constable Catherine Nthenya for failing to secure exhibits for a rape case that has been ongoing for the past five years.
Ms Nyongesa said that the officer – who had been the investigating officer for the case – had failed to be cooperative in the case.
She served the court with what the complainant termed as ‘fake exhibits’.
Fifteen days ago, the mother of a victim who had attended one of the hearings alleged that she had visited the Soweto Police Station and found that one of the exhibits, a bed sheet, was being used as the Station’s curtain.
“I visited the station recently and was shocked that one of the exhibits was hanging on the window. That could be the reason why investigating officers are unable to bring the exhibit in this court,” she had complained on Wednesday prompting the magistrate to summon OCS Stephen Lelei.
She interjected in the hearing of the case in which, Simon Ngugi Thuo is accused of defiling her daughter on July 11, 2010.
Ms Nyongesa summoned three police officers and their boss and explain the whereabouts of crucial exhibits which included a bed sheet, the victim’s underwear and petticoat.
When Soweto OCS Stephen Lelei appeared before the court on Friday February 20, he said that he had only worked at the station for three months and was not very familiar with the case.
He said he only learnt about the missing exhibits through an article in the newspaper and requested to be given more time to trace the whereabouts of the exhibits.
“I request the court to give me more time to search for the exhibits for the case. The stores have a lot of exhibits” Mr Lelei said.
The Investigating Officer, a PC Gichohi said he was given the file by his Officer Commanding Station (OCS) with clear instructions, and they did not include availing exhibits to the court.
“Your honor, I received this case from the OCS after the officer who has been investigating it, Madam Nthenya was said to have bad blood with the complainant. I was not asked to deal with the exhibit,” said Mr Gichohi.
The court was told that Ms Nthenya had been uncooperative and was not willing to explain where the exhibits were stored.
The magistrate asked the OCS to remind Ms Nthenya that they could be charged if they are found to be obstructing the administration of justice and when she brought the exhibits to court on Tuesday, the victim’s mother said they were not the genuine ones.
The victim’s mother also brought to the attention of the court that she had on Thursday received a threatening message on her phone which she believed was linked to the case.
“The sender of the message has threatened to kill me and I have reported the threat to the Ruai Police Station,” the woman, whom we cannot name for legal reasons, said.
Ms Nthenya will remain remanded until March 9, when the hearing of the case continues.