A senior police officer who is accused of shooting dead a university student in Kisumu last week has formally been charged with murder and took a plea to deny the charges.
Mr Sebastian Ambani will remain in custody for two more days to enable the State ascertain his mental status as ordered by the High Court judge Fred Ochieng.
Police in Kisumu detained their colleague ten days ago after he shot and killed a student following a bar brawl at Mambo Leo estate on Thursday night.
Mr Ambani, the chief inspector of operations at Kuria West Police Division, is said to have shot the student in the head and stomach, killing him, using a pistol.
The deceased, Brian Makabwa, was a third-year KCA University student and son of Kehancha sub-county administrator Danstan Makabwa. He is said to have been involved in an argument with the officer before he was shot.
Last week, Mr Ambani failed to take a plea before Winam Magistrates Court in Kisumu because the charge sheet was not ready yet.
Earlier on Monday morning, the prosecutor, Mrs Gloria Barasa, made an application before the court seeking to have the accused detained as they assessed his mental status.
But Mr Ambani’s lawyer, Mr Richard Onsongo, told the court that the investigative officer disobeyed court orders by holding his client in custody in the name of conducting mental assessment.
“My client should not be held further in custody in the pretext of carrying out a mental assessment. They should be able to tell the court what they have been doing in the days he has been held. Why have they not completed their investigations?” asked Mr Onsongo.
He added: “This application breaches the accused’s rights. They have not put any evidence indicating that my client has refused the assessment.”
He questioned why the prosecutor did not call for mental assessment when the accused first appeared in court.
But Mrs Barasa explained that they could not seek for the test before they concluded their investigations.
“On the basis of the charge sheet where Mr Ambani is accused of murder, we saw it fit to carry out a mental test,” she said, adding that the accused was held for the past few days lawfully.
Judge Fred Ochieng in his ruling pointed out that even though the accused pleaded not guilty of murder, no evidence has been tabled to ascertain whether he was of sound mind.
He added that further orders could only be sought after his status is ascertained, but he must remain in custody during this period.
“The state is hereby given two days to determine the mental status of the accused, but during this time, he is to remain in custody,” said Justice Ochieng.