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An innocent man released after four years in prison in Kenya

Four years ago, Paul Nyamu boarded a bus to Mombasa. Along the way, a police officer flagged them down, ordered Nyamu out and later arrested him, Standard Kenya Media

The officer told him he had arrested him because he appeared “as if he intended to rob someone”.

Nyamu was taken to court and after his trial, a magistrate’s court handed him a seven-year jail term. Then, the charge sheet read Nyamu was found in possession of a knife and a panga, which police officers termed dangerous.

However, Nyamu appealed the ruling before the High Court. He told justice Asenath Ongeri he was innocent and that the officer had framed him for reasons not known to him. The court believed him after it emerged he had no weapon by the time he was being arrested.

“The conviction herein is not secure. I allow the appeal, quash the conviction and set aside the sentence. I further order that the appellant be set free unless lawfully held for any other reason,” said Justice Ongeri.

During the trial, the prosecution said two officers arrested Nyamu, released him but later re-arrested him. This was after the public reportedly frogmarched him to a police station accusing him of being a member of a group that was causing insecurity.

 

In his defence, Nyamu said he was not told why he had been arrested. He said an officer stopped the bus he was travelling in and ordered him out. He obeyed. The officer then took him to Samburu Police Station and handed him to two other officers.

Justice Ongeri found errors in the prosecution’s narrative as those who were said to have taken Nyamu to the police station were never called to testify before the lower court.

She said Nyamu was arrested in broad daylight yet no one could demonstrate that he behaved like a robber.

“I find the appellant was arrested in public in broad daylight in a matatu travelling to Mombasa. It has not been shown that the possession of the weapons was coupled with an overt act on the part of the appellant. I find that the prosecution did not prove its case to the required standard,” the judge ruled.

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