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British national jailed for five years after being found with six snakes

RIFT VALLEY
By By Antony Gitonga | September 24th 2013

By Antony Gitonga        

Naivasha, Kenya: A British national has been jailed for five years by a Naivasha court after he was found in possession of six poisonous snakes.

Forty-three-year old Simon David Harris was left tongue-tied as he was escorted to prison to start his jail term.

Harris who lives in Germany was jailed on his own plea of guilt by Naivasha resident magistrate Seline Muchungi.

The Briton who arrived in the country a week ago, had been charged alongside his Kenyan accomplice Richard Wangwe Adera. They pleaded guilty to the three counts.

The two had been charged with being in possession of six live Kenya horned viper snakes without a certificate of ownership, failing to make a report of obtaining possession of government trophy and dealing in government trophy.

The court was told that on the September 22, 2013 at around 5.30pm in Kongoni area, KWS officers and the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) officers received a tipoff that the duo were in possession of the snakes.

The officers then rushed to the Fish Camp hotel at Kongoni where the two were residing and arrested them.

The prosecution further added that the suspects could not explain why the snakes with a street value of Sh300,000 were in their possession and where they intended to take them.

The two were sentenced to three years in prison without an option of a fine on the first count and one year each for the second and third counts respectively.

Harris, who was visibly shaken at the unexpected sentence, pleaded with the magistrate to reconsider her judgment and give him the option of paying a fine.

He told the court that he had recently arrived in the country on holiday and that he had no intention of exporting the vipers.

The magistrate upheld the sentence saying that the seriousness of the offense called for stiffer penalties to serve as a deterrent measure.

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