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Policeman who robbed Sh15 million at gunpoint asks court to pardon him

A police corporal convicted for violently robbing a cashier of Sh15 million at gunpoint has pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.

He has instead asked the court to “send him as a missionary to preach to fellow police officers and the youth to shun crime”.

Corporal George Onyango Mtere, 49, who was attached to the Ruiru Police Station at the time he committed the office in December 2020, pleaded with Milimani Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi to have mercy on him “as he is more useful outside prison compared to when he is locked up in a high-security prison remand”.

Defence lawyer Danstan Omari also asked the court to exercise leniency on his client after a probation report by the Ruiru police station Officer Commanding Station (OCS) indicated the convicted officer had “good behavior”

Omari urged Ochoi to emulate a Mombasa High Court Judge who recently ordered a convicted Catholic Father to preach against violence and sexual molestation of girls and women.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Ingonga asked the court to hand down a death sentence to the police officer.

Prosecutor James Gachoka asked Milimani Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi to sentence the convicted police officer to death for robbing a cashier at Mistsumi Business Park in Parklands Nairobi.

Pleading for the maximum sentence, Mr Gachoka urged Mr Ochoi to impose the maximum sentence for robbery with violence on Corporal George Onyango Mtere, who was attached to Ruiru Police Station at the time of the offence.

Mr Onyango was convicted alongside a co-accused robber, Mr Bernard Ogutu Okech.

“The aggravating circumstances surrounding the robbery leave the court with no option but to impose the mandatory death sentence on former police officer Onyango and Ogutu whom the court has convicted of the capital offence,” Mr Gachoka urged.

The prosecutor said a gun was used to scare and coerce the victim, Daksha Patel, an employee of Mitsumi Computer Garage.

On seeing the gun, the cashier at Mitsumi Business Park dropped the bag containing $150,000 (about Sh15 million considering the exchange rates at the time).

“We have established all the elements of robbery with violence, that Corporal Onyango was armed with an offensive or dangerous weapon, namely a gun, and that he was in the company of Ogutu, who was also armed and used violence at the time of the robbery. We therefore urge you to sentence them to death,” Mr Gachoka said.

He added that the convicts inflicted psychological trauma on the victims during the commission of the crime, hence their actions merit the harsh punishment.

While convicting the police officer, Ochoi noted that the victim of the robbery, Daksha Patel, an employee of Mitsumi Computer Garage as a cashier based at Mitsumi Business Park, positively identified Officer Onyango and his accomplice Ogutu in court as the robbers of her handbag at gunpoint in a lift as she was leaving the building.

Patel was approached by the two assailants, both armed with pistols, as she was on her way to a bank to deposit the money and robbed of her handbag, laptop, and mobile phone.

“The gunmen confronted me and others in the lift as we were getting off, one man brandishing a gun asked me to release the rucksack I was carrying, but I hesitated and Corporal Onyango grabbed the bag containing the money and the two walked away,” Patel testified.

“I find that Patel’s evidence was corroborated by the CCTV footage played in court,” Ochoi said.

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