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Githurai matatu crew in stripping case denied bail

The crew of a bus in Nairobi held for stripping and sexually assaulting a female passenger will spend Christmas and New year in custody after a court declined to grant them bond.

A magistrate rejected a request for the release of Mr Nicholas Chege Mwangi and Mr Meshack Mburu Mwangi, driver and conductor respectively of a Githurai 44 bus who are also charged with violent robbery.

The prosecution had opposed their release on bond stating that the punishment awaiting the suspects- a death penalty and a possible life sentence would scare them away from attending proceedings to conclusion.

PUBLIC OUTRAGE

Prosecutor Duncan Ondimulo said that safety of the suspects may not be guaranteed outside the court’s jurisdiction as the act had drawn public outrage after a video depicting the assault went viral on social media.

“There are enough compelling reasons to deny the accused persons bail moreso in light of the aggravated nature of the offences they face…” senior principal magistrate Lucy Mbugua said in a ruling.

She said the offences in count two are “gross and abhorrent, and, undermines the values of the nation, generally and an individuals dignity, specifically.”

Mr Chege and Mr Mwangi have been charged with robbing a 21 year old woman passenger of property worth sh 41,700 on the night of September 19 and 20 at Millennium petrol station in Githurai 44. Nairobi.

GENITAL ORGANS

They are also charged with forcibly “manipulating their fingers into the woman’s genital organs.”

Ms Mbugua said she had focused on six areas in denying the suspects bond.

“The nature and seriousness of the charges facing the accused persons apart from the punishment awaiting them if they are among the reasons the prosecution argued for a denial of bond,” she said.

The magistrate added that a possible interference with witnesses and the undisclosed antecedents of the accused persons were other reasons she reached her decision.

“There is also the issue of public interest and the security of the accused persons which was alluded to,” she said.

The magistrate has also ordered that the complainant’s identity be concealed for the time being and that she may only be identified by her initials H.E.W.

“Bond is not an absolute right and in circumstances where it has been proven that there are compelling reasons for denial, it may not be granted,” the magistrate explained.

The case will be mentioned on January 15