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High Court frees Bishop Wanjiru on Sh100,000 bond, cancels detention

Jubilee Party’s Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Bishop Margaret Wanjiru will not spend the weekend and the Labour Day in police custody.

This is after High Court judge Ngenye Macharia on Friday granted her a bond reduced to Sh 100,000 from Sh 500,000.

“The cash bail granted is hereby reduced, an order directing the detention of Bishop Wanjiru is hereby set aside and she is to be set free from custody upon payment of a cash bail of Sh 100,000,” ruled Lady Justice Macharia.

Through lawyer Kennedy Ochieng, Bishop Wanjiru had moved to the High Court to challenge the decision to deny her bond as well as have her detained for five days.

In a letter to the presiding judge of the High Court’s Criminal division, Mr Ochieng had protested against the fact that the prosecution did not seek for more time to have her detained so as to record witness statements yet Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi ordered that she remains in custody.

The Magistrate had ruled that she spends five days in custody, pays a Sh 500,000 bond and presents two sureties of the same amount on May 2 before she secures her freedom on that day.

FAIR TRIAL

But he faulted the magistrate for issuing directions for her continued incarceration yet he was not asked in court and termed it as a gross violation to her rights as an accused person.

“The orders issued by the trial court infringes on the accused persons fundamental rights blatantly, the orders issued were not applied for in the first place and are detrimental to her right to a fair trial,” said Mr Ochieng.

He termed the verdict as a dangerous precedent of the court granting orders that have not been sought for and allowing detention without trial to complete investigations in a case where one is charged with offences such as the ones Bishop Wanjiru was charged with.

On Thursday, Bishop Wanjiru was charged with causing malicious damage to property and creating disturbance at a polling station during the Jubilee Party primaries. She denied the charges.

DISRUPTED VOTING

She was accused of willfully and unlawfully destroying four ballot boxes as well as assorted papers valued at Sh 30,000 belonging to Jubilee Party on on April 26.

She was also accused of storming into City Park Market in Westlands, Nairobi, where forcefully disrupted the voting process for the Jubilee Party nominations while in the company of a group of 50 rowdy youths who allegedly scared off polling clerks.

In the letter as well as case documents filed on Friday, she sought for a review of the orders issued concerning her continued detention as well as the bond terms. Her son, Stephen Kariuki, who is Mathare MP, was present in court.

“It is therefore Bishop Wanjiru’s request that this court calls for and examines the record of her criminal case for purposes of ascertaining the correctness, legality of the orders of the trial court and grant her relief as per the law,” read the letter.