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Matatu driver jailed for a year for hitting magistrate’s vehicle

A matatu driver who was jailed for one year without the option of a fine after he was convicted of hitting a vehicle belonging to a magistrate, has appealed the sentence, citing unfair hearing.

Christopher Muthomi was handed the maximum sentence for the offence on May 5 after he pleaded guilty to careless driving occasioning damage to Embu Resident Magistrate Julian Ndengeri’s car.

While making the ruling on May 5, 2016, Resident Magistrate Vincent Nyakundi ordered that Mr Muthomi’s driving license be suspended for one year after he completes his jail term.

During the accident which occurred outside the Embu Law courts, Ms Ndengeri’s car had a slight damage to its door and there was no injury.

In his mitigation, Mr Muthomi had expressed remorse to the court, arguing that he was a family man and has never caused another accident in his 10 years of driving.

“I have a wife and two children. I also lost a brother last week, I ask for forgiveness,” he pleaded.


However, the magistrate ruled that “the offence the accused committed is a serious one” and deserves custodial sentence.

Through lawyer Mugendi Kagiri, Mr Muthomi has now called for a review of the case, arguing that he was severely punished because of the complainant’s stature.

“Arising from the fact that the complainant is a judicial officer serving in Embu Law Courts, the plea ought not to have been taken to the same station the complainant is serving owing to a clear case of conflict of interest as well as element of perceived biasness,” reads part of the arguments.

Mr Kagiri also argues that the sentence was harsh as the case is a minor one as there was no injury or extensive damage to the car.

On Thursday, Justice Justus Bwonwong’a, however, adjourned the case since the State Counsel was absent. The case was fixed for mention on May 16, 2016.