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Terror suspect trial stalls for two years after magistrate transferred

COAST
By Willis Oketch | February 2nd 2017
British Terror Suspect ,Jermaine Grant, a Muslim convert from East London seen at the Shimo La Tewa Court room cells on Friday, was arrested in Mombasa in 2011 and also found guilty of fraudulently obtaining a Kenyan national Identity card and sentenced to serve one year at Shimo la Tewa Prison where he is currently based pending the outcome of his terror related case.PHOTO BY MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD

The trial of British terror suspect Jermaine Grant has stalled for two years after a magistrate was transferred.

Magistrate Joyce Gandani, who was presiding over the case, was transferred to Nairobi in 2015 and the case has not been allocated to another magistrate since.

The case cannot be allocated to another magistrate because Ms Gandani was about to conclude it and what was remaining when she left were final submissions by the State and defence.

This means only Gandani can deliver judgement yet she has not been coming to Mombasa from her station at Milimani courts in Nairobi because the Judiciary has not paid for her travel and accommodation.

All witnesses had testified in the case in which Grant is charged with possession of  explosives and plotting a bombing campaign in Mombasa in 2011.

On Monday, Grant's lawyer Chacha Mwita lamented that his client was suffering an injustice and delayed justice out of the Judiciary mistakes.

Mr Mwita and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office have silently complained over the failure of the magistrate to turn up and hear the submissions.

The lawyer, who has been making frequent flights to Mombasa from Nairobi, raised alarm over failure to conclude the trial even after dates for submissions were fixed.

"We are still waiting for the magistrate to come and take our submission over whether Grant has a case to answer or not," he said.

The defence lawyer said this after Mombasa senior principal magistrate Francis Kyambia ordered that the case be mentioned at Shanzu court in Shimo La Tewa Prison on February 28 for direction.

Grant is serving nine years in jail after being found guilty of attempting to register himself as a Kenyan.

The Briton is facing the charges with his wife Warda Breik, who is suspected to be an associate of Samantha Lewthwaite, infamously known as 'the White Widow.'

They are charged alongside Frank Ngala, a matatu driver police claim was found in possession of a cellphone used by Grant to communicate with fugitive Fuad Abubakar Manswab.

Fuad, who was facing the same charges in the same court, jumped bail in 2013 and is believed to be hiding in Somalia.

The four are also charged with being members of Al Shabaab.

Chacha said it was unfair for his client to have his case adjourned every time it comes up for hearing on grounds that the magistrate was not available because her transport was not facilitated by the Judiciary.

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