Kenya police convicted over death of British aristocrat’s son
A Kenyan court on Monday sentenced four police officers to prison for manslaughter over the death of the son of a British aristocrat who was tortured and left for dead in a police cell.
Alexander Monson’s family has been fighting for justice for nine years since his death in the Indian Ocean beach resort of Diani in May 2012.
Monson, 28, the son of British baron Nicholas Monson, had been arrested for allegedly smoking cannabis, known locally as bhang, outside a bar in Diani.
His family maintained that Monson was beaten to death in a jail cell, while police claimed he had died of a drug overdose.
On Monday, judge Eric Ogola ruled that the four officers were guilty of manslaughter and sentenced them to between nine and 15 years in prison.
But he said at a High Court hearing in the coastal city of Mombasa attended by Baron Monson that the prosecution had failed to provide enough evidence for a murder conviction.
“The court has established that he was tortured within the police compound before he was returned to the cell at around 5 am,” Ogola said.
“The four police officers were aware of the deceased’s condition while in their custody, but they did not do anything,” he added, saying the officers also kept quiet about the incident.
Of the four officers, Naftali Chege was given 15 years behind bars, Charles Munyiri and John Pamba 12 years and Ismael Baraka nine years. The sentences were suspended for various terms.
Ogola said it was important that police understood “their duty is to protect lives rather than take them away”.
“All the accused persons deserve to be jailed to a custodial sentence. That is the only way a clear message will be sent out to the public, especially the police,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions said it would appeal the sentences and seek a higher charge of murder.
The high-profile case shone a spotlight on police brutality in the East African county where such incidents are rife.
Nicholas Monson said he was “happy that justice has finally been delivered” but the family expected a harsher penalty.
“We all died when Alexander died. A message must be sent to the police. This must stop,” he told reporters outside court.
Another Kenyan court had ruled in June 2018 that the police were liable for Monson’s death, saying that during the inquest the officers had contradicted each other.