A Nairobi resident has won big in a case that he had been charged with robbery with violence in 2015.
The High Court in Nairobi awarded the man identified as Anthony Murimi Waigwe Ksh4.5 million as compensation and an additional Ksh500,000 as punitive damages for wrongful arrest and prosecution.
In a ruling delivered on Friday, High Court Judge James Makau said police and officers from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) violated Waigwe’s rights for preferring a robbery with violence charge against him without evidence.
The judge castigated the officers for abuse of power.
“I find that it is not properly right in a civilized society like ours to close our eyes, ears and mouths when police officers arrest and charge innocent Kenyan youth and have them taken through unnecessary criminal trial like in the instance case,” said Justice Makau.
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He added, “In my view, any good prosecution must be purposeful and should not be used to stage-manage cases… in a democratic society like ours no one should be charged without authorities conducting proper investigations.”
Waigwe, who worked as a supermarket attendant at Kamiti Selfridges Supermarket in Donholm estate, was arrested while on his way to work on July 22, 2015, by officers who were patrolling Kayole area.
The court heard that he was locked up at Kayole Police Station without being informed reasons for the arrest.
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The police detained him at the station for over a week — from July 22 to July 31, 2015, when they arraigned him alongside another man and charged them with robbery with violence.
Justice Makau ruled that the charge was out of malice as the police did not provide evidence including the alleged stolen goods.
The judge observed that facts in the case clearly showed no reasonable and sincerely honest person could have believed that the prosecution’s robbery with violence charge against the man was likely to secure the police a conviction.
Over the years, police have been accused of harassing, arresting and sometimes killing youth in informal settlements for mere suspicion of being behind criminal activities.
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