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Kitui Court Acquits Priest on Assault charges

There was drama at the Kitui Law Courts after a catholic Priest accused of assaulting his lover and daughter was acquitted due to lack of solid evidence to warrant conviction.

The complainant, Veronicah Musali Mutua, broke into a wail outside the courtroom claiming that the court had denied her justice after Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi delivered the judgement setting free the man of cloth.

Moments after the ruling it was a relief for Father Japheth Mwove Kimanzi, formerly a Priest at the Kabati Parish in Kitui Catholic Diocese, as he hurriedly left the court premises amid protest from his accusers after a grueling six year criminal trial which culminated in his acquittal.

Addressing the press outside, a teary Musali lamented that the judgment had dealt her and her nine year old daughter a blow and appealed to FIDA and other human rights groups to come to their aid in their quest for justice.

“Since I was attacked with my daughter, my life took a nosedive. My daughter suffered permanent brain damage that led to her physical impairment including loss of sight, hearing and mobility,” she said.

Veronicah Musali Mutua ((right) wails outside the Kitui Law courts claiming denial of justice after Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi acquitted her former lover Father Mwove Kimanzi, who was charged of causing her grievous bodily harm in November 16, 2015. Photo by Yobesh Onwong’a.

Musali, who is unemployed, noted that her inability to meet the daily provisions of her daughter and the court’s decision to set free the man who she claimed destroyed her life was a miscarriage of justice.

Father Mwove was on December 3, 2015 arraigned before the then Principal Magistrate Esther Boke facing the criminal charges which he was accused of committing at Muthale village in Mutonguni location, Kitui West, on November 16, 2015 at about 10 pm.

The Priest who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was released on Sh. 100,000 bond with a similar surety with an option of Sh. 15,000 cash bail.

Chief Magistrate Mbungi freed Father Mwove due to lack of concrete evidence linking him to the charge of causing grievous bodily harm to the accused person whereas Musali was given fourteen days to appeal the ruling.

In his ruling, Mbungi said that the case required forensic experts to analyze and determine if indeed the accused who committed the offense since there were no eye witnesses.

“Musali’s testimony in court is like a lullaby that raised specific defense questions that were not proven that indeed she was attacked by Father Mwove,” read part of the judgment.

It is reported that trouble began when the priest denied fathering the woman’s child, who was born blind, in 2012.

Musali disclosed that the two got into a sexual relationship when Father Japheth Mwove was stationed at Nuu in Mwingi, Kitui County, but things turned bitter when she got pregnant for him while she was still a form two student at Mwambiu Secondary School.

“I was always concerned that I would conceive but he advised me not to be afraid promising that he would marry me eventually. He hated me when I gave birth to a blind child and declared that he did not sire my daughter,” she recalled painfully.

The child’s paternity dispute persisted until the two resolved to have a DNA test conducted to establish whether Father Japheth Mwove was indeed the father. The DNA test report was filed in February 2016.

The report, seen by KNA, showed that the said Catholic priest was indeed the girl’s biological father. “Since the DNA report confirmed that he was Lillian’s father, he has been trying to shed us off in order to avoid parental responsibility.

By Yobesh Onwong’a

 

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