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Mombasa court frees 5 robbery suspects for lack of evidence

Wednesday August 14 2019

Mombasa Law Courts

The suspects accused of violently robbing and fatally wounding a police officer in October 2015 when they appeared in a Mombasa court on August 13, 2019. They were acquitted for lack of evidence. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PHILIP MUYANGA
By PHILIP MUYANGA
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Five men who were charged with violently robbing a police officer of his rifle and ammunition, leading to his death, have been acquitted by a Mombasa court.

Mombasa Principal Magistrate Edgar Kagoni Tuesday said the prosecution failed to prove its case against Mohamed Mwachande, Mohamed Salim, Kassim Ahmed, Mohamed Abdala and Ali Omar.

“I find each of the accused persons not guilty of the offence of robbery with violence and acquit them under Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Mr Kagoni.

VIOLENT ROBBERY

The accused were alleged to have violently robbed Police Constable Simon Lochodo of a G3 rifle with 20 rounds of ammunition valued at Sh75,000 and, immediately before the time of the robbery, fatally wounded him.

The magistrate further ruled that in the absence of the evidence by the officer who extracted samples from the accused, it would be unsafe to rely on the contents of a government analyst’s report placing them in a house where the rifle was recovered.

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RIFLE

“The prosecution’s case was hinged on the recovery of the rifle which was stolen. I have found that no evidence has been tendered to link any of the accused to the house in which the weapon was recovered,” said Mr Kagoni.

He added that none of the police officers who testified told the court that he took the accused persons to any medical facility or the Government Chemist to have their samples taken for DNA sampling.

“What the court has is a report from the government analyst linking some of the accused persons to the house in which the assault weapon was recovered without evidence on how their samples were taken,” Mr Kagoni said.

12 WITNESSES

According to the prosecution, which had called 12 witnesses during the trial, on October 2, 2015 at about 3pm, the police officer was on guard at Gulf Africa Bank in Bondeni when he was shot by unknown gunmen.

The officer was rushed to hospital but succumbed to the injuries while undergoing treatment while the gunmen escaped with his rifle.

The court also heard that on January 4, 2016, police officers received information that there were youths who were armed and dangerous in one of the houses in Bondeni.

Anti-Terrorist Police Unit officers raided the house in Bondeni but it would appear the occupants got wind of the impending raid and fled before police arrived.

The accused, who were represented by lawyer Yusuf Aboubakar, denied committing the offence.

In their defence, they also told the court that they were not subjected to any DNA tests.