By Eric Winston/Guest Writer
A Nairobi bus crew has been handed the death penalty for stripping a female passenger naked and robbing her of her personal effects.
The Githurai 44 bus crew who committed the offence in 2014, Nicholas Chege Mwangi (driver), Meshack Mburu Mwangi (conductor) alongside Edward Ndungu Gitau, a petrol station attendant at Millenium Petrol Station, who police said posted an offensive video on social media depicting the sexual assault were given the sentence after being found guilty by the trial magistrate.
They had been charged with robbery with violence and sexual assault, charges which they had denied committing.
The trial magistrate announced a 25 year jail term for each of them for sexual assault and a death sentence for the robbery with violence charge. They will however not serve the jail term as the death penalty supersedes it, said trial magistrate Francis Andayi.
“Courts have shown mercy even to serious offenders before. I can be willing to do the same here but there is only one sentence for robbery with violence,” the magistrate said while announcing the death sentence.
In mitigation, the three asked the court to be lenient with them as they had families who depended on them and that they had already spent a considerable time in custody.
Backside of the complainant
Andayi noted that the incident started as a simple joke with a pat on the backside of the complainant but soon escalated when she slapped the man (Nicholas Chege) who had touched her inappropriately. The judge said that the lady suffered extreme humiliation for standing by her right to dignity and privacy. “Most uncultured men see unwarranted pats on the backsides of ladies as nothing but a joke,” he added.
The magistrate said that the complainant suffered extreme humiliation for standing by her right to dignity and privacy. “Most uncultured men see unwarranted pats on the backsides of ladies as nothing but a joke,” he added.
“It is important to respect all human beings. We were born equal and we all die equal. It is more important to respect the dignity and privacy of women.” The magistrate said.
They have 14 days to appeal the judgment.
The three had been charged with stripping the female passenger identified as HEW naked in the proceedings which were held in camera and robbing her of cash, two phones, a makeup kit and a clutch all valued at Ksh43,700. The stripping incident went viral on social media and had led to public demand for the prosecution of the perpetrators.