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Court set to release 78 petty offenders in a bid to de-congest jail

By Daniel Chege | April 18th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

At least 78 petty offenders in remand at Nakuru Prison could walk free in a drive to de-congest the jail in the wake of coronavirus.

On Thursday, Senior Resident Magistrate Yvonne Khatambi set free two offenders under section 64 of the criminal procedure code, which gives the court powers to release suspects unconditionally.

The two -- James Wambua and Kelvin Mwenda -- were among 17 suspects who had changed their pleas and admitted to charges levelled against them so as to benefit from the programme of the Judiciary to de-congest jails.

They faced charges of creating disturbance at Nakuru town. They pleaded guilty to harassing and inconveniencing pedestrians at Tuskys Supermarket by snatching items from them.

They were arrested on March 5, 2020 and remanded in custody after they failed to meet bail terms.

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Ms Khatambi said they were remorseful and promised to reform.

The other 15 remandees are awaiting their verdicts to be read on April 23 and 30, said Khatambi who delivered the verdict via video-link that connects the Nakuru Law Court and the prison.

Yesterday, 17 other cases were heard, but the court delayed judgement to allow probation officers deliver their reports. Some 35 cases involving petty offenders will be heard next Thursday, the magistrate said.

The remaining nine cases will be heard on a date set next week by the court.

The release of the remandees follow the ruling in cases facing 143 inmates after their sentence were suspended on March 19, 2020 by Nakuru High Court Judge Joel Ngugi.

The 143 were serving less than three-year jail term at Nakuru men and women GK Prisons.

The prisons, whose capacity is 900 inmates, had more than 1,800 inmates before the decongesting process started.

 


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