Githurai stripping suspects now face death penalty
The crew of a bus in which a female passenger was stripped and sexually assaulted in Githurai, Nairobi now potentially face the death penalty after they were on Wednesday charged with robbery with violence and sexual assault.
Mr Nicholas Chege Mwangi and Mr Meshack Mburu Mwangi denied that on the night of September 19 and 20 at Millennium Petrol Station in Githurai 44, they jointly with others not before court robbed the 21 year old woman whose identity the court ordered concealed until she testifies.
They face the death penalty — in addition to a 10 year jail term or enhanced life imprisonment — if the prosecution secures a conviction against the two offences.
On Wednesday, the prosecution said they robbed the woman, identified only by her initials H.E.W, of personal effects valued at Sh41,700 before they sexually assaulted her.
Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu has also asked the court to deny the suspects bond “for their own safety due to the public outrage” the act elicited after mobile phone footage of the assault was uploaded on the Internet and circulated on social media.
“It would be most distressful to disclose the identity of the complainant at this stage,” Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua said, although she clarified that that was not a blanket order to conceal the identity of the victim throughout the trial.
She said the prosecution may later renew the request for concealing the complainants identity when proceedings begin.
CRIME SCENE EXHIBIT
Earlier, the owner of the bus, through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, had requested for the release of the vehicle but was overruled after the prosecution said it has been retained as a crime scene exhibit.
“The criminal act was committed on the complainant inside vehicle registration number KBT 903R operating under the Nazigi Sacco and the owner has recorded a police statement confirming that the two accused persons were on duty on the material day,” Mr Ondimu said.
He said a police identification parade singled out one of the suspects as assailants and that several statements recorded in respect to investigations were pointing towards the suspects’ involvement in the alleged offences.
The police had been given 11 days to conduct investigations and charge the suspects formally in court in relation to the video clip that went viral sparking public outrage.
The prosecutor said one of the suspects after a charge and cautionary statement had confessed that his phone was used to record the assault.
“By their nature these offences are serious and the temptation to abscond is high, it is not a trivial case facing the accused, the presumption of innocence notwithstanding,” Mr Ondimu said.
The court will rule on the bail application on Thursday.