Nairobi News


Mistaken identity: Death row convict released after 10 years behind bars

A man, who had been serving a death sentence for robbery with violence, has been set free after the Appellate court ruled in his favour due to mistaken identity.

Stanley Njeru Kiragu, who had spent a decade behind bars, successfully argued in his second appeal that he was wrongfully arrested as one of the robbers involved in robbing a taxi driver in Naivasha back in 2010.

Justices Fatuma Sichale, Lydia Achode and Weldon Korir, who presided over the case, carefully examined the evidence presented in court. They concluded that the witness who had arrested Kiragu did not see him exiting the stolen vehicle.

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The court said Kiragu was apprehended after the perpetrators abandoned the car and fled on foot, and he was subsequently roughed up by the public before being brought before the complainant for identification.

The court also noted a crucial missing link in the case – the absence of a witness who saw Kiragu emerging from the stolen car and pursued him without losing sight until his arrest.

The judges emphasized that this eyewitness account was essential in establishing Kiragu’s connection to the crime. As the complainant did not specify the duration he observed Kiragu at the pick-up point before he entered the vehicle, the court found that doubt had been cast on Kiragu’s identification as one of the robbers.

Consequently, the benefit of the doubt was granted to Kiragu, leading to his release.

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Kiragu was initially charged with jointly robbing a taxi driver of a Nissan Sunny Station Wagon valued at Sh500,000, along with Sh6,500 in cash, on November 2, 2010, in the old Kijabe area of Mai Mahiu, Nakuru.

According to the driver’s account, two men had hired him to transport them to an IDP camp to locate a woman. However, upon arriving at the camp, they failed to find the woman, and it was then that Kiragu allegedly volunteered to guide them to her location.

The driver further claimed that, after approximately 4 kilometers, Kiragu, seated behind him, abruptly placed a rope around his neck and demanded he stop the vehicle.

Alerted by the driver’s outcry, the three robbers fled, leading to Kiragu’s arrest by members of the public some distance away from the scene.

Kiragu consistently maintained that his involvement was a case of mistaken identity, as no eyewitnesses testified against him, and he was not found in possession of the stolen items.

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