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Magistrate urges court to stop rape case against him

A magistrate arrested last week over defilement of a 17-year-old girl has petitioned the High Court, seeking to stop his prosecution.

Mr James Ongondo, who filed the suit under certificate of urgency through lawyer John Swaka, is urging the court to restrain the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) from arresting and charging him.

Mr Ongondo was arrested on April 1,2022 in a lodging with the girl at Kaplong in Sotik, Bomet County.

He, however, claims the girl is 22, and not 17 as claimed by police, whom he accuses of arresting him maliciously and with ulterior motives.

“The court be pleased to issue an interim order restraining Inspector General of Police (IG), DCI, and the DPP, their agents’ servants or employees from arresting arraigning in court, charging and prosecuting the petitioner or otherwise instituting criminal proceedings against the magistrate pending the hearing and determination of the main petition,” Mr Swaka said in court.

The magistrate wants a stay of his prosecution, pending determination of the case he has filed at the High Court.

In the evidence presented before the court, Mr Ongondo says he was arrested after the “lady” in his company told DCI officers that she was underage.

Mr Ongondo, the Kehancha senior principal magistrate, had booked a room to spend the weekend with the lady.

He says he is a married man and a father, and he is prone to sharing drinks with friends at the end of his official duties, an activity that is embraced worldwide.

In his petition, the magistrate says he was attending a social function with his peers when he was escorted by officers from the DCI for allegedly luring an underage girl.

He faults the owner of the bar where he was allegedly found with the minor for failing to verify the age of the girl and allowing her to take alcohol at his establishment.

“At no point did the owner of the establishment verify the age of the girl (name withheld) as alcohol beverage kept trickling to the table. The waiter serving the table did not raise any issue at any point,” he claims.

Mr Ongondo adds that the manager of the establishment had never seen him in the company of the young lady before March 31 or April 1, and as such, could not attest to her true age.

The magistrate states in his court documents that he has since verified the true age of the girl through the production of her birth certificate, which shows that she is aged 22 years.

He is asking the court to stop the state from prosecuting him for interacting with the adult woman.

The magistrate terms the intended prosecution as malicious, ill informed, embarrassing and meant to hound him out of office with shame.

The magistrate, who has served in the Judiciary for 15 years, says police want to frustrate, cajole, intimidate and arm-twist him into giving in to their demands.

“If the police carry out their sinister motive, it will have a negative impact on my stellar character and this will subject me to ridicule and caricature,” adds the magistrate.

He says that the incident has caused him mental anguish and a nervous break-down.

“The threats have caused a strain in my life as I am now in the throes of a mental and nervous breakdown as a result of the threats and malicious reports being made online by the DCI and IG,” Mr Ongondo states.

The magistrate says that police action was causing untold anxiety for him and his young family.

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