New twist as Judge in Tob Cohen Saga Sues Police

  • Court of Appeal judge Sankale ole Kantai has sued the police for arresting and linking him to the murder of Dutch businessperson Tob Cohen without any evidence.

    The judge argues that the shameful move grossly injured his reputation as a respected member of society and among his learned peers. 

    Justice ole Kantai has sued the Inspector General of Police (IG) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over his February 21, 2020, dramatic arrest in connection to the controversial death of Dutch businessperson Tob Cohen. 

    In a petition filed at the Milimani High Court, Justice Kantai says the Inspector General of Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations should have summoned him to record statements.

    The judge says his arrest was humiliating and that the cells he spent the night in were in deplorable conditions, exposing him to health hazards. 

    Entrance to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road
    Entrance to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters along Kiambu Road.

    The judge says detectives unlawfully confiscated his mobile phone for three months and summoned him to the DCI headquarters at least 12 times, yet there was no evidence linking him to any wrongdoing. 

    Apart from psychological torture, Justice Kantai argues that the unpalatable experience with DCI officers has affected his career because he could not hear and determine cases involving the police without fear of intimidation. 

    Justice Sankale cited malice in his arrest, saying several of his constitutional rights were violated in the trial. He says, for instance, that he was deprived of his freedom without a just cause, his privacy was invaded, his dignity violated, and reputation dragged through mud. 

    “I should not have been arrested in the first place if the respondents did not have any evidence connecting me to the murder of Tob Cohen,†he says. 

    Justice Kantai is relying on other successful court petitions where judges found that it is unlawful for police to use arrest as a starting point for investigations. Referring to the recent arrest of his fellow judges Justice Aggrey Muchelule and Justice Said Chitembwe states that it has occasioned great anxiety amongst judicial officers, aside from threatening the independence of the Judiciary. 

    “The respondents’ actions have affected my work life and I cannot hear and determine matters where the respondents are parties without fear of intimidation,†the judge says. 

    The judge says on the day of his arrest, DCI officers stormed his house in six cars, some with blatant sirens terming it as ‘dramatic’. He adds that the officers did not produce any search warrant. 

    “The unnecessary dramatised arrest of the petitioner (Justice Kantai) and the recent arrest of judges have caused great anxiety amongst the judicial officers. The ambush and intimidation that goes on during these arrests is a big threat to the independence of the Judiciary. The actions of the respondents ultimately undermine the public confidence in the judicial process,†Justice Kantai said. 

    Justice Kantai also wants the courts to issue orders barring the police from using information that was extracted from his phone against him in any way court as well as the DCI and Inspector General of Police to pay him for the damage caused by the arrest and links to Cohen’s murder. 

    Gavel on the bench in the courtroom
    Gavel on the bench in the courtroom