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Court upholds robbery suspect's death sentence

28 February 2014, 14:01 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A man whose passport photos and the national identity card belonging to his brother were collected at a robbery scene in Karatina town has been sentenced to death by Nyeri High court.

Justice James Wakiaga and Anthony Ombwayo upheld the sentence handed by a subordinate court in 2007 following an appeal filed by Maxwell Muchiri involving a robbery incident where a woman was robbed of her vehicle, a mobile phone and cash.

It was alleged that in 20 September 2007, a gang of men armed with an AK47 rifle ambushed Lucy Njoki as she drove into her residential compound at Karatina Township in Nyeri county.

They stole her vehicle, a Toyota Carina valued at KES 755 000, a mobile phone worth KES 12 000 and Kes.4, 000 cash.

In the course of the tussle, the gang dropped a wallet containing Muchiri’s photo, and the ID card of his brother Stephen Muchira, who at the time was in jail having been convicted of a criminal offence.

Police who combed the scene of crime, after recovering the wallet traced Muchiri to his home, arrested him and levelled charges of violent robbery against him.

Later in the year, Nyeri chief magistrate Lucy Gitari convicted Muchiri of the offence and sentenced him to death prompting him to appeal.

At the High Court, Muchiri said that there was nothing connecting him to the offence apart from the said wallet.

He said that he was not aware of the existence of the wallet until the day of his arrest.

He added that the vehicle he was said to have allegedly stolen was never dusted for finger prints, and that he had been unfairly convicted.

However, a State Counsel, Stephen Cheboi opposed the appeal saying the trial court was justified to rely on circumstantial evidence of the recovered wallet in the conviction.

He insisted that Muchiri was culpable of the offence as the wallet not only had his passport but also the ID card of his brother who at that time was in prison.

The judges, while upholding the sentence, noted that Muchiri’s defense “was a sham” and that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

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