NAIROBI, August 25 – Ninteen football fans have been charged for maliciously causing damage to property, creating a disturbance and assault causing actual bodily harm on August 23 within Nairobi County.
Appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku on Tuesday at the Milimani Law Courts, the fans who included a 16 year old, challenged their arraignment on the grounds that they had in police custody for more than the 24-hours allowed in law.
Their lawyer also accused the police of violating the rights of the 16-year-old while in their custody by failing to give him special consideration and, “bundling,” him together with adults.
The prosecution defended the delay in arraignment by explaining that the suspects were booked at 6.50pm on Sunday and therefore 24-hours lapsed at 6.50pm on Monday, at which point no court for them to be arraigned before, was sitting.
As for the 16-year-old, the prosecution said it was amendable for his plea taking to be deferred until an age assessment report could be obtained verifying his age.
The accused did however tell SPM Mutuku that he is a secondary school student.
Mutuku was scheduled to rule on the matter at 2pm on Tuesday and decide whether the accused will plead to the charge of:
“On the 23rd day of August 2015 along Uhuru Highway, Haile Sellasie Avenue and Moi Avenue within Nairobi County jointly with others not before court without lawful excuse, went ahead armed with stones in a public place in such a manner as to cause terror to members of the public and motorists,” the charge sheet read in the first offence.
In the second offence, the fans were charged with creating disturbance in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace contrary to section 95 (1) (b) of the penal code by arming themselves with stones and throwing at members of the public and motorists.
The fans were also charged for contravening section 251 of the penal code after assault causing actual bodily harm.
“On the 23rd day of August 2015 along Accra Road Nairobi, within Nairobi County, jointly with others not before court, unlawfully assaulted Valentine Ngugi Gathenya thereby causing him actual bodily harm,” the charge sheet stated on the third offence.
The fans were arrested following the chaos that erupted during the abandoned SportPesa ‘Mashemeji’ Derby pitting champions Gor Mahia and arch rivals AFC Leopards that was halted in the 66th minute.
The ugly face of hooliganism once again showed up after a section of fans sparked off trouble in the second-leg clash between the two bitter rivals at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Both sides were locked in a barren draw before chaos erupted when unbeaten K’Ogalo were awarded a penalty after Leopards skipper, Jackson Saleh, blatantly handled the ball in the box.
But as Meddie Kagere prepared to take the spot-kick, a section of Leopards supporters sat in the notorious ‘Russia’ stands, threw projectiles into the pitch to compel centre referee Raphael Nduati to halt the match for the second time.
Police lobbed tear gas to disperse the rowdy fans and after over 25 minutes of unrest that saw players, technical bench, journalists and broadcaster SuperSport crew huddled at the centre of the pitch to escape the bitter confrontations, Match Commissioner, Paul Kaunda called off the match on security grounds.