Republic v Njeru & 2 others (Criminal Case 14 of 2019)  KEHC 2038 (KLR) (8 March 2023) (Ruling)
Neutral citation:  KEHC 2038 (KLR)
Republic of Kenya
Criminal Case 14 of 2019
LM Njuguna, J
March 8, 2023
Joseph Murathi Njeru
Nancy Muthoni Kinyua
Paul Fundi Mwinami
1.The accused persons herein were charged with the offence of murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code. The particulars of the offence being that on May 1, 2019 at Kanungo village, Kagaari South East Location, in Embu East Sub–County, within Embu County, jointly with others not before court murdered Joseph Kinyua. Upon arraignment in court, they pleaded not guilty and a plea of not guilty was entered for each of them.
2.The case proceeded for trial and wherein the prosecution called thirteen (13) witnesses in support of its case; after which the prosecution closed its case.
3.Under Section 306 of the Criminal Procedure Code (cap 75 Laws of Kenya), this court has a duty, upon close of the prosecution’s case, to make a ruling or a decision on whether an accused person has a case to answer or not. Under section 306(1), when the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution has been concluded and the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused persons committed the offence should, after hearing, if necessary, any arguments which the advocate for the prosecution or the defence may desire to submit, record a finding of not guilty.
4.Under section 306(2) on the other hand, when the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution has been concluded and the court is of the opinion that there is evidence that the accused person committed the offence, the court should proceed to place the accused person on his defence and whereby the accused is supposed to present evidence in his defence.
5.As such, at this stage, this court’s role is to consider the evidence on record and make a determination as to whether the same presents a prima facie case that would warrant this court to call upon the accused persons to give their defence. Under section 211 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a prima facie case is established where the evidence tendered by the prosecution is sufficient on its own for a court to return a guilty verdict if no other explanation in rebuttal is offered by an accused person. [See Ramanlal Trambaklal Bhatt Vs Republic  EA 332 at 334 and 335].
6.However, it is trite that, where the court is not acquitting the accused person at the close of prosecutions’ case, there is no need for a reasoned ruling for a case to answer. Reasons should only be given where the submissions of a no case to answer by the accused is upheld and the accused is to be acquitted. [See Festo Wandera Mukando Vs Republic  KLR 103].
7.I have considered the evidence tendered by the prosecution in this matter as required of this court and from the entirety of the said evidence, it is my view that the prosecution has made up a prima facie case against the accused persons. Each of them has a case to answer and they are placed on their defence.
8.It is so ordered.
DELIVERED, DATED AND SIGNED AT EMBU THIS 8TH DAY OF MARCH, 2023.L. NJUGUNAJUDGE……………………………………….…..for the Accused…………………………………………….for the State