In 2016, a senior pastor from the Well of Faith Ministries in Gatina, Kawangware, was successfully convicted before a Nairobi High Court. In a case adjudicated by Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit, the man was found guilty of murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code.
Nonetheless, James Muia was acquitted. “As for Mr Muia, there are few facts which do not add up. However, it is clear that he remained consistent in his story… Mr Ng’ang’a corroborated by admitting that Mr Muia was in his vehicle as one seeking a lift. Unlike Mr Ng’ang’a, neither had he made an attempt to escape nor did he formulate lies at the crime scene; instead choosing to keep quiet until he got to the senior police officers. Even though I doubted why he took a long route from Kawangware to town, that alone is not sufficient to find him culpable for the offence. I give him the benefit of doubt and acquit him for this offence under section 322 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” reads an excerpt of the judgement rendered by Justice Lesiit.
A sworn testimony by James Muia pin-pointed that Mr Ng’ang’a had severely assaulted Carolyne Chajirah, his Clandestine lover. The testimony also revealed that the assault had been occasioned by the deceased demanding accountability from Mr Ng’ang’a. The deceased had enquired as to why the pastor had been negligent in taking care of their child. Consequently, a one sided melee had escalated causing stab wounds on the face of the victim.
A post mortem report revealed that Ms Carolyne’s death had been caused by a head injury due to blunt force trauma. In addition, the report also stated that there were features of attempted strangulation using a ligature.
Furthermore, that in an UNSWORN testimony, the pastor had lied about his alibi stating that he had been driving along Ngong Road near Nakumatt Junction when two armed men and the deceased hijacked him and Mr James Muia.
It is with this precise intricacies that the pastor had been convicted.
Consequently, Mr Ng’ang’a challenged his conviction in Criminal Case No 17 of 2012 at the appellate court.
The appeal adjudicated by Court of Appeal (CoA) judges, Justices Mohammed Warsame, Kathurima M’inoti and Sankale Ole Kantai was quashed on the grounds that it was not meritous.
The CoA judges ruled that Justice Lesiit of the Milimani High Court had not erred in convicting Mr Paul Ng’ang’a as the evidence sufficed.
“...we do not see any gaps in the prosecution case that would have undermined the appellant’s conviction, nor do we find any bias on the part of the learned judge,” the court ruled.
Moreover, the CoA asserted that the conduct of the pastor and the nature of injuries inflicted on the deceased indicated malice aforethought from the pastors end.
“The deceased succumbed to her injuries within a few hours of the assault and we are therefore satisfied that the prosecution proved malice aforethought on the part of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt,” the court noted.
Categorically, the judges said that the testimony from Mr Muia, the post mortem report and the after crime events [that he escaped the crime scene and reported the matter at Muthangari Police station after one hour] demonstrated the convict’s guilty intentions.
“If motive can be drawn from facts, then the evidence of Muia that the deceased was querying what kind of man the appellant was for failing to support his own child, could readily have supplied the motive,” the court ruled.
Finally, the CoA dismissed the appeal based on the inconsistencies of Pastor Ng’ang’a alibi if not the heavy staining of his clothes with the deceased blood, the presence of the deceased blood on parts of the car including as far as inside the rear roof and the recovery of the murder weapon inside the car.
Mahakamani News is Kenya’s top court reporting and crime coverage website. If you have a case that needs coverage, or if you are facing injustice from powerful forces, fired unfairly or reporting any corruption or relevant news pertaining judiciary etc please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org