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Tough orders as former Java boss freed from jail

By | January 20th 2010

By Evelyn Kwamboka

Former Java Coffee House manager John Cardon Wagner has been released from Kamiti Maximum Prison under tight conditions pending his appeal.

The American, who spent Christmas in jail after he was found guilty of defiling three girls, was ordered to deposit Sh1 million and his passport to the deputy registrar of the High Court in Nairobi.

"I hold that this is a fit and proper case for the grant of bail pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s appeal," Justice Mohammed Warsame said.

Issuing the orders, Justice Warsame also ordered Wagner’s names be supplied to all Immigration department exit points.

He said this is to stop the man sentenced to 15 years imprisonment from leaving the court’s jurisdiction without permission or determination of his appeal. Wagner’s appeal challenging his conviction and sentence is to be mentioned at the High Court in Nairobi on February 18.

The judge issued the orders on grounds Wagner had sufficiently demonstrated his case has a probability of success and there are overwhelming issues that would need to be determined at the hearing stage.

Section of law

The issues include whether Wagner suffered a miscarriage of justice by having been allegedly convicted under a wrong section of the law and that trial magistrate found him guilty in a matter in which the age of the complainants was not established before the court.

The court is to investigate, re-evaluate and determine why the trial magistrate Teresiah Ngugi amended the charge sheet and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. Wagner was sentenced to jail over the defilement of three girls aged between 13 and 14 years.

He was jailed along with his two co-accused Judy Nyaguthii and Faith Nyawira, who were sentenced to 10 years each for exposing the girls to prostitution. In December last year, he told the judge that his appeal has 21 grounds and an overwhelming chance of success. He said the trial magistrate erred in her judgment.

Through his advocate Pravin Bowry, Wagner said the magistrate amended the charge sheet in her judgment, a move he termed unlawful.

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