Court frees 15 in Raila’s copter case
Fifteen of the 17 people accused of pelting ODM leader Raila Odinga’s helicopter with stones in Uasin Gishu County two weeks ago have been released.
An Eldoret court yesterday ruled that there was no evidence to link them to the incident which sparked widespread condemnation. Eldoret Senior Principal Magistrate Emily Kigen ordered the suspects to be released, even as two of their alleged accomplices were charged.
The 15, according to investigating officer Daniel Polo, will be required to report to a police station near them for a month pending further orders.
The remaining two, Abedinego Kiptanui and Kenneth Kupkosgey Sawe, were charged with malicious damage of property.
According to the charge sheet, the duo damaged a chopper — Eurocopter 5Y-DSB — whose front and right screens were valued at Sh577,500, contrary to Section 5 (b) of the Protection of Aircraft Act, CAP 68, Laws of Kenya.
They were also charged with creating a disturbance, incitement to violence and breach of peace.
“We have no evidence to link the 15 to any other charge in relation to incident. But the first and second respondent will be charged,” said Polo.
Relatives of the 15 suspects who had jammed the courtroom burst into celebrations after their release. The suspects have been in custody while police investigated the attack.
The incident happened in Kabenes, Uasin Gishu county, during the funeral of prominent businessman Jackson Kibor on April 1.
Last week, the magistrate granted the prosecution more time to conclude investigations, noting that this was also good for the suspects as some of them may be exonerated.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations interrogated Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, his Soy counterpart Caleb Kositany and Uasin-Gishu county Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat.
“It will give the court a clearer picture to make a determination … and is also for their common good as some of them may be exonerated,” she said.
During the incident on April 1, a chopper that had ferried Raila and other Azimio La Umoja dignitaries were damaged after it was pelted with stones by a group of rowdy youth.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has already interrogated Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, his Soy counterpart Caleb Kositany and Uasin-Gishu county Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat.
The DCI claims that the two MPs and the speaker planned and funded the attack, a claim they all deny.