Driver who killed seven on Thika Rd freed after 8 years in jail
Eight years ago, seven passengers had just alighted from a matatu at a stage along the Thika Super Highway.
As expected, the seven were to go about their duties, but this was not to be.
In the twinkling of an eye, a lorry ran over them, sending them to an untimely death.
The driver of the lorry has served a jail term of about eight years already but the High Court has now set him free, sparing him the remaining six.
In his decision, Justice Luka Kimaru ruled that a Magistrate court erred when it convicted Mr David Kimani Njuguna to sentences that were to run consecutively for each of the seven victims.
The trial court sentenced him to serve two years in prison, which would total to 14 or alternatively pay a fine of Sh100,000 for each of the seven counts of the said offences for all the victims of the fatal April 27, 2012 accident.
But according to Justice Kimaru, the fines imposed were harsh and excessive owing to the fact that it was one accident that led to the death of the seven people.
The judge therefore set aside the fines that were imposed by the trial court and substituted it with one of Sh200,000 as well as ruled that the sentences should have run concurrently and not consecutively.
And considering that the accused had already deposited Sh200,000 to the trial court as cash bail, the judge said the monies count as having settled his fine as set by the High Court hence what remained was him to be allowed to walk home.
“The court is of the view that the fines imposed were indeed harsh and excessive taking into account that it was one accident that led to the death of the deceased persons, the applicant is therefore ordered released from prison and set at liberty forthwith,” said Justice Kimaru.
On the day of the accident, the accused was driving an Isuzu lorry registration number KAA 273P in a manner that was dangerous to the pedestrians as well as other road users, at 7.30am along Thika Super High Way near Clay Works.
He ran over seven pedestrians who had just alighted from a matatu. Sadly, none of them survived.
He was arrested and charged with seven counts of causing death through dangerous driving as per the Traffic Act before being convicted.
But he moved to the High Court last year seeking to have the sentence imposed on him reviewed, having served about seven years in jail already.
He argued that the trial court failed to consider his pre-sentence report which showed that he was indeed remorseful and that he had not intended the accident to happen.
He also argued that as a young man with a family, he could barely afford the monies he had been ordered to pay as fine.
However, the prosecution told the court that the sentence ought to have remained as imposed since circumstances of the accident show that he was clearly at fault at the time the accident occurred and that no explanation could warrant a lesser punishment.
Even though the prosecution pointed out he should have served a concurrent sentence as per the law, the state said his sentence should set an example.