There has been a public uproar following the acquittal of controversial pastor James Ng’ang’a by a magistrate judge at the Limuru Law Courts on Monday, in a case where he had been accused of causing the death of a woman through reckless driving.
The Neno Evangelism Center televangelist had been accused of being behind an accident that left Mercy Njeri and at least two others injured along Nairobi-Nakuru highway on July 26, 2015. Njeri died while undergoing treatment after a Range Rover Sport, belonging to the preacher collided head-on with the vehicle she had been travelling in together with her husband Martin Mbugua, who sustained injuries but luckily survived.
Then the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko consequently gave the green light for the apostle’s arrest following the recommendations of Inspector General, Joseph Boinnet that Ng’ang’a be charged with causing death through reckless driving. He was later released on a SH 1 million bond and the case drugged on for three years!
Lack of evidence or bungled case?
In his ruling, chief magistrate Godfrey Oduor, said that the prosecution failed to proof that Ng’ang’a was driving the range rover when the accident occurred.
The magistrate also acquitted three other people who had been accused alongside Pastor Nga’ng’a; police inspectors Christopher nzioka and Patrick Baya, who had been charged with conspiring to defeat justice.
The third suspect was Simon Kuria, who had taken the blame for the accident, saying he was the one driving the range rover at the time of the accident.
Kuria and Nzioka were accused of giving falkse information to the police while Baya, who was the Tigoni police base commander, had been accused of neglecting his duties.
Witnesses, some who testified in court, had told the police that the Range Rover was being driven recklessly on the wrong side of the road, with a chase car behind when it collude with another car. According to first respondents accounts, Ng’ang’a allegedly jumped out of the vehicle soon after the accident and got into the chase car before it sped off.
Causing death through reckless driving is a criminal offence, which attracts a jail-term not exceeding ten years according to the Traffic Act.
Section 46 of The Traffic Act, Chapter 403 of Laws of Kenya provides that any person who causes death by reckless driving is “guilty of an offence”. This statutory provision is mandatory to the effect that any person who causes death by driving to be charged in court, where it would be determined whether the elements of the offence have been met.
“Any person who causes the death of another by driving a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, or by leaving any vehicle on a road in such a position or manner or in such a condition as to be dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road and the amount of traffic which is actually at the time or which might reasonably be expected to be on the road, shall be guilty of an offence whether or not the requirements of section 50 have been satisfied as regards that offence and be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
Kenyans have taken to twitter under the hashtag to condemn the ruling that has seen the preacher walk.