An Islamic preacher has been acquitted of four terrorism charges he was facing after the prosecution failed to prove its case against him.
Mombasa Principal Magistrate Henry Nyakweba acquitted Mr Khalid Mohamed Ali of charges of possessing a grenade, IED components, property for commission of a terrorist act and radicalisation.
“The prosecution failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt. I acquit the accused person under Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Mr Nyakweba.
Through prosecutor Daniel Wamotsa, the Director of Public Prosecutions said he intends to appeal against the acquittal.
The court noted that the search on the preacher’s family house was not done in accordance with the law on searching premises without a warrant.
“The police did not have a search warrant. Police have powers but provisions (of the law) have to be followed,” said Mr Nyakweba.
Mr Nyakweba said if police did not have a warrant, the search ought to have been conducted during daytime and not at night.
He said the officer who prepared the inventory of the items (weapons) allegedly recovered from the accused’s family home was not called to testify.
“The recovery of the items did not meet any legal threshold,” said Mr Nyakweba.
Through his submissions filed by his lawyers Mbugua Mureithi and Japhet Asige, the accused argued that charges relating to possession of a grenade and IED components were defective.
The lawyers further argued that the two charges were based on illegally obtained evidence and that there was no evidence of possession of the items by the accused.
“The defence gave credible, consistent and unchallenged evidence that the items in count two and three (possession of grenade and IED components) were planted in the bedroom of the accused by the police,” Mr Asige and Mureithi stated in their submissions.
They further said that there was no dusting of finger prints on the alleged recovered items to establish who had handled them in view of the large number of people found in the accused’s family home.
The defence lawyers further argued that there was no arrest or even questioning of adult members of the accused’s family found in the house when police took him for the search.
“It is our submission that the numerous incorrigible and illogical incidents of the so-called search are obvious tell-tales that the police simply planted the charged items in the bedroom of the accused,” the lawyers argued.
They also argued that there was no cogent evidence that connected the accused with the offence of radicalisation.
According to the defence, there was no competent witness called by the prosecution to lead evidence on the offence (of radicalisation).
The accused was alleged to have committed the offences on or about May 26, 2015 at Bondeni within Mombasa County.