, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua has denied bail to the matatu crew charged with sexually assaulting and robbing a woman in Githurai.
Explaining her decision, Mbugua said the charge of “unlawfully manipulating your fingers into the genital organs,” of the complaint was, “gross and abhorrent,” and an affront to society’s morals.
The charge of sexual assault, she said, was aggravated by the robbery with violence charge on the same day and place – a charge serious enough to attract the death penalty and therefore compelling enough to deny the suspects bail as had been set as precedent in a previous case which she cited.
The accused Nicholas Chege and Meshack Mburu challenged her ruling through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui who said he would appeal the decision.
And while having made clear in her ruling that the right to bail was not an absolute right, Mbugua set a mention date for the accused before the trial court on Monday.
She also refused to hear a further appeal from Kinyanjui who said the media coverage of the accused had been unfair and had led to his clients being tried in the public domain as opposed to impartially before a court of law.
“The reporting of this case in the media prejudices the fair trial of the accused and this court is being used as a platform to try them unfairly. They also have a right. There is a body of interested parties following this case through the media and therefore we need to articulate fairly what is transpiring,” he stated.
But Mbugua declined to record his objections directing him to address his grievances before the trial court as it went beyond the scope of what she’d been charged with deliberating over.
Kinyanjui had on Wednesday accused the prosecution of acting at the behest of a Cabinet Secretary as opposed to in the interest of justice and demanded an expedited hearing of his clients.
“Yesterday you said you would be willing to start even tomorrow. Now you say you’ll be on leave until January?” he demanded of Senior Prosecuting Counsel Duncan Ondimu on Thursday.
Chege and Mburu on Wednesday pleaded not true to the charges preferred against them after Mbugua ruled that the complainant be identified by her initials H.E.W on the charge sheet to protect her dignity.