A 45-year-old Catholic priest has been jailed for five years by a Kitale court for attempting to defile an altar girl.
Kitale Senior Resident Magistrate Duncan Mtai said that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
However, the accused person was acquitted on an alternative charge of committing an indecent act with the 11-year-old girl.
"I find that the prosecution has proved its case against the accused person beyond any reasonable doubt. I, therefore, convict him to five years' imprisonment with 14 days right of appeal," ruled Mr Mtai.
Fr Bernard Magina Masinde of Kipsaina Catholic Church was accused of attempting to defile the minor at Kipsaina Trading Centre in Trans Nzoia County on September 15, 2018.
SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT
To prove the case, the prosecution cross-examined five witnesses. The accused, however, did not call any witnesses.
Earlier, the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge when he was first arraigned. The court heard that the accused attempted to defile the girl in his car.
According to the minor's mother, on the evening of the material day around 6 pm, her daughter informed her that the priest had requested her to go to church for preparations of a service. She took long to come back home.
“I then sent her siblings to go to look for her in vain. That is when I went to look for her at the church only to find her inside the priest's vehicle that was parked outside the church compound," she told the court.
In his defence, Father Masinde told the court that he was inside his vehicle when the girl knocked on his car window and he rolled it down.
“I saw the girl, she had been complaining of chest problems. I told her to come inside the car to inquire about her condition. Since it was getting late after a long conversation, I asked her to go home only to be ambushed by the girl's mother and her uncle," Father Masinde said.