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Officer who bungled rape case set free

A police officer who was found guilty of conspiring to defeat justice by losing exhibits in a defilement case on Monday walked away scot free with a warning never to repeat the mistake.

Constable Catherine Nthenya, who was the investigating officer in a case where Mr Simon Thuo has been charged with defiling a 10-year-old girl in 2010, had spent one week at the Makadara Courts cells for the offence.

Makadara Senior Resident Magistrate Emily Nyongesa said Ms Nthenya should have been jailed for five years, but she considered that she had spent one week in custody, and that “it is enough lesson”.

“Article 117 (c) of the Penal Code is very clear on this. It states that: Any person who obstructs or in any way interferes with or knowingly prevents the execution of any legal process, civil or criminal, is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for five years. In the court’s opinion, the accused has obstructed justice. However, having stayed in custody since March 3 this year, I believe that is enough punishment,” said Mrs Nyongesa during her ruling on Monday.

THE VERDICT

Ms Nthenya, in a black pullover, stood in the dock throughout the proceedings and occasionally looked towards 20 or so of her colleagues from Soweto Police Station who were in the courtroom in solidarity with her.

The officers and their bosses, both in uniform and plain clothes, left the courtroom congratulating their colleague, immediately after the verdict was read.

Ms Nthenya had initially ignored a summons by the court to produce underpants, a petticoat and a bed-sheet, which were crucial evidence in the case against Mr Thuo.

“Ms Nthenya had explained to this court that she had handed over a court file and exhibits and that the said officer had failed to hand over the same to the current investigating officer, Police Constable Gichohi,” she said.

This prompted the court to summon Mr Gichohi who explained that he took over from Ms Nthenya but was only given a police file. The case against Mr Thuo is scheduled to be heard on April 13 and 14 this year.