Man sentenced to death over a deadly grenade attack on Mombasa club

Mr Thabit Jamaldin Yahya participated in the attack almost four years ago.

Thursday March 10 2016

Mr Thabit Jamaldin Yahya is sandwiched between

Mr Thabit Jamaldin Yahya is sandwiched between two prison officers in a Mombasa court on March 10, 2016. He was sentenced to death over a grenade attack on Bella Vista club in Mombasa in 2012 which led to the death of Ms Mary Chiptirim, a security guard at the restaurant. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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A man who participated in staging a grenade attack at Bella Vista club, a popular entertainment spot in Mombasa in 2012, was on Thursday sentenced to death after being found guilty of the murder of a security guard at the premises.

Mr Justice Martin Muya said he was satisfied with evidence by prosecution witnesses that Mr Thabit Jamaldin Yahya participated in the attack almost four years ago.

The Judge noted that from evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses, four grenades were hurled which were meant to cause grievous harm to revellers.

“I am satisfied that the accused was placed at the scene of the attack, he received injuries from the blast and taken to hospital with other victims,” said Mr Muya in his judgment.

The prosecution had called 31 witnesses in its case against Mr Yahya who denied murdering Ms Mary Cheptirim.

Justice Muya said to prove the death of Ms Cheptirim, the prosecution did not require a death certificate but a post-mortem report.

The defence had argued that nobody saw the accused throw a grenade at the premises and that the alleged identification of the accused by a prosecution witness after seeing him on television was unprocedural.

According to the evidence of a bouncer who was a prosecution witness, while on duty on May 15, 2012, he saw two men who refused to be frisked.

RECEIVED EXHIBITS

Another witness, who worked with the FBI, told the court she received exhibits, including a toothbrush, which matched the DNA of Mr Yahya.

Prior to sentencing, prosecutions counsel Jami Yamina urged the court to treat the accused as a first-time offender since there was no previous criminal records against him.

“I have consulted, the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and confirmed there is none; he may be treated as a first time offender,” said Mr Yamina.

In his mitigation, through lawyer Chacha Mwita, the accused said he has been suffering in custody.

Mr Chacha, who also applied to be supplied with copies of the judgment, said he had instructions to appeal against the sentence.

During the trial, a driver brought to court after arrest to give evidence against Mr Yahya had told the court that he had feared for his life.

Mr Joseph Mwaura said he could not attend court as he was called by a person on “a private number” who told him not to attend court or report to police claiming that he knew his family.

The witness said that he had been called twice but by the time he first received the first call he had not been told by police to attend court.

“I did not report to the police because the person told me he knows me,” said Mr Mwaura.

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