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In trouble for Christmas crimes

By Kamau Muthoni | December 27th 2017 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Illicit brew valued at millions of shillings impounded by police that was packed in bottles of authorised liquor in Nthagaiya village of Embu East sub-county on Saturday. Police also nabbed fake notes to the tune of Sh380,000 and arrested two women. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)

Crime never sleeps, not even on Christmas Day.

However, some people tend to forget this very important lesson until they are caught on the wrong side of the law.

The aftermath of the festive season opens a bitter chapter to those who throw caution to the wind during celebrations -- some of the actions have potential to ruin one's life and shatter families.

This year will be no different given the various crimes already reported, and those unfortunate to find themselves in trouble will face consequences similar to what offenders in the previous years have faced.

In June this year, High Court judge Lucy Gitari confirmed a 22-year jail term for a man who raped a Form Four student and stole her money and mobile phone on Christmas Day in 2009.

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The magistrate’s court slapped Stephen Murara with a 20-year sentence for rape and two years for causing grievous harm. The court heard that the victim had gone to Kutus town to celebrate Christmas. At around 6.30pm, her cousin called her to go and him up.

Upon reaching the agreed venue she stopped to make a phone call. It is then that Murara emerged and dragged her to a maize plantation where he defiled her. He also took her mobile phone and Sh300.

The girl testified that he again took her to a coffee field and defiled her, but this time some neighbours came to her rescue.

Murara told the court that he had been framed over a land dispute. He also told the court that he was in Nyeri on the alleged day, attending his aunt’s wedding.

But the court found that he was positively identified and that medical tests had proven that the teen had been defiled.

Justice Gitari found that he ought to have served life in jail for causing grievous harm but she decided not to disrupt the lower court’s sentence.

On December 25, 2009 Mercy Kagwira was murdered in an apparent love triangle. The suspect in the knife stab case was Frida Kanui.

The court heard that on the fateful day, at 9am, Ms Kagwira went to her husband Stanley Mwirigi's homestead to give her child Christmas clothes.

Mwirigi and Kagwira had parted ways three months earlier. After the disagreement, she went to Nairobi.

Kagwira found Kanui in the house and a fight ensued. The man they were fighting over was away at the time.

Kanui pulled out a knife from her waist and stabbed Kagwira on her hand and neck and left the knife stuck.

Pulled backwards

The accused then fled.

When Mwirigi returned and found that Kagwira had been stabbed, he fled and was never seen again.

Mwirigi’s father Joseph Mugambi told the court that he knew Kagwira as his son’s wife but denied knowing that he had any other woman.

In reply, Kanui told the court that she was married to Mwirigi for three years. On the fateful day, she testified that she went to draw water in a well and upon return, she saw a person at her house door.

It is then that she was stabbed on her palm.

“(She) just pulled me backwards and we struggled over a knife and she slid and fell on it. I did not see where the knife cut her. She is the one who had the knife,” she testified.

 The High Court slapped Kanui with a death sentence on November 17, 2011 but she appealed.

In the appeal she argued that the judge failed to consider that there was no malice, that Mwirigi's family members ought not to have testified and that she was sentenced to death when she was pregnant.

Justices Alnashir Visram, Martha Koome and Otieno Odek dismissed the appeal and substituted the sentence to life. They however ordered investigations of how Kanui became pregnant twice while in custody.

“For avoidance of doubt, the conviction of the appellant for the charge of murder is upheld; the appellant is sentenced to serve life imprisonment. In this case, the appellant became pregnant twice while in the custody of prison authorities. We hereby direct that a copy of this judgement be sent by the deputy registrar to the commandant of prisons at the headquarters in Nairobi to investigate how a woman in remand or prison can get pregnant,” the judges ruled.

In a separate case, the High Court found a man who clobbered a friend, whom he had mistaken for a thug, guilty of manslaughter

Martin Wafula and his brother Paul Manyilila were hosting a Christmas party for their friends at their house at Samoya village, Bungoma County.

The total number of guests was about 10. There was music being played, traditional liquor (busaa) and food was available for the guests to enjoy.

The party started at around 9am and proceeded to around 11.30pm.

A group of young men, including the victim, Erick Mutaki, went to the home and wanted to join the guests at the party -- their was music.

The accused person met them at the door and denied them entry The court heard that Mutaki was assaulted and died a short while later.

A total eight witnesses testified. Prosecution witness one said he wanted to pick the key to their house from his brother but the accused could not let him in or even call his brother to talk to him outside the house. The accused hit him with a club on the face and mouth.

The second witness told the court that he was helping Manyilila to cook and serve the visitors with food and drinks. It is then she heard shouts and went to hide in a sugar plantation.

Rained blows

Another witness told the court he equally got a hostile reception. He claimed Wafula followed him as he left the home and rained blows on him.

The accused denied the offence.

He testified that on December 25, 2006, he was helping his brother to entertain guests in his house. At around 10pm, the accused, his brother and the visitors were attacked by a group of young men who invaded the home.

He said the victim was assaulted on the road.

High Court judge Florence Muchemi on July 2010 found him guilty of manslaughter.

“The accused inflicted the injury which resulted in the death of deceased in the course of  repulsing the uninvited guests. In the circumstances, the accused had no intention to kill the deceased. The evidence of malice aforethought is therefore lacking and a conviction of murder cannot be sustained.  I find the accused guilty of a lesser offence of manslaughter,” she ruled.

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