Kinoti reprieve as court suspends his prison sentence

The Court of Appeal on Friday suspended a four-month sentence imposed on DCI boss George Kinoti by the High Court.

Kinoti was last year sentenced to four months behind bars by Justice Antony Mrima for failing to obey a court order requiring him to release firearms belonging to businessman Jimi Wanjigi.

But Court of Appeal judges Fatima Sichale, Msagha Mbogoli and Imaana Laibuta on Friday gave Kinoti some reprieve as they also set aside the warrant of arrest pending hearing of his appeal.

The court ruled that if Kinoti is arrested and proceeds to serve his sentence, he will have lost his right to liberty and in the event of appeal succeeding, the prison sentence cannot be reversed.

The judges further said Kinoti has demonstrated that he has an arguable appeal worthy of consideration.

In his court papers, Kinoti had argued that judge Mrima erred in holding that the issue of who was in possession of the guns had already been determined, and the mere fact that the police confiscated them did not mean that he kept possession of the guns.

He further submitted that the possession was handed over to the Firearms Licensing Board after they were confiscated from Wajingi and to him confiscation and possession are not the same.

Kinoti said the High Court also failed to consider new evidence he produced stating that he could not comply with the order to return Wajingi firearms because the guns were in the custody of an independent entity.

It was his argument that he had no jurisdiction as the DCI to compel the licensing board to release the firearms to Wajingi.

Wajingi wanted the Court of Appeal to dismiss the application by Kinoti saying he was in active disobedience of a court order committing him to jail.

The firearms are one pistol, a Smith and Wesson, one Glock pistol, one assault rifle among others.

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