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Five to face murder charge over death of St Augustine pupil

By Mkamburi Mwawasi and Joackim Bwana | Jul 25th 2017 | 3 min read
Jeremy Masila who was a pupil at St. Augustine's Preparatory School at Tudor in Mombasa (Photo: Courtesy)

Five employees of St Augustine Preparatory School in Mombasa will face murder charges over the death of a seven-year-old pupil who was killed by the institution’s bus.

Justice Dorah Chepkwony ordered the school's headmistress, Kesi Sara, and employees Venant Mwasaru, Vald Mbadi, Abednego Mwendwa, and Charo Kazungu to appear in court on Wednesday to answer murder charges.

Jeremy Masila fell under the bus and was crushed to death on Wednesday. An investigation by the National Transport Safety Authority revealed that the bus had a hole in the floor which was covered with a PVC carpet.

On Sunday, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed that the headmistress and the workers be charged with the murder of the pupil. The death has sparked public outrage and raised questions about the safety of pupils.

Plea bargain

The Standard learnt that if the five agree to the mistake that led to the death of the child, a plea bargain would be considered and they would be charged with manslaughter.

“Under section 137 A (1) of the criminal procedure code, cap 75, a plea for the offence of manslaughter be entered into if offered,” read the charge sheet.

The charge sheet further say that the five murdered Masila on July 21 at Sega, Majengo location, in Mvita sub-county.

The orders were issued after an application was made by  Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti.

Mr Muteti  informed the court that DPP Keriako Tobiko directed him to appoint two State counsels to work with the police to ensure that the five are brought before the court.

“As ordered by the DPP, I did appoint State counsels Eugene Wangila and Ngina Mutua, who will work together with me to bring the suspects to book,” said Muteti.

He informed the court that the team of investigators and prosecutors have been in constant touch since Friday and have decided to charge the five with murder.

Seat belts

However, Muteti told the court that none had appeared in court, although he had directed that they be arrested and arraigned.

“I, therefore, seek summons against the five accused persons to be served through the regional Criminal Investigations Department office,” said Muteti.

The boy was going to school when he fell through the hole in the bus.

The vehicle, which was ferrying pupils without seat belts, has a rusty floor.

The floor below Masila's seat has a hole large enough for a grown-up to fall through.

Masila's mother, Louisa Masila, works in Dubai and is expected to arrive in the country soon.

The headmistress and the driver, who had been detained in custody, were released on police bail.

Masila's grandmother, Ms Shally Masila, accused the school management of negligence.

“I blame the school for the death. I know there are accidents but not this one. If the headmaster had taken precautions, the accident wouldn’t have happened and if they had informed us that the bus was not in a good condition, we would have taken alternative transport,” said Ms Masila.

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