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Cleric jailed 75 years for defilement appeals

by kenya-tribune

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The cleric who was jailed 75 years for defiling three minors and deliberately transmitting HIV to one has filed an appeal for the ruling to be overturned.

Mr Joseph Agutu Obala has filed the appeal at the High Court in Kisumu County, saying the punishment was not commensurate with the offence.

Mr Obala said he was dissatisfied with the ruling by Resident Magistrate Pauline Mbulika, whom he said erred in law in convicting him in both the main and alternative counts.

He was found guilty on four counts – three of defilement and one of knowingly transmitting the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus.

He is to serve 20 years in prison for each of the first three offences and 15 years for the fourth.

Ms Mbulika said he will serve the sentences consecutively.

During the hearing, the cleric claimed the girls had boyfriends and that they secretly used his phone to contact them. He had been living with them at an orphanage in the county.

He added that there was no evidence that he is the one who infected one of them with the virus.

Mr Obala further said in his petition that the cases were shoddily investigated.

“The trial magistrate failed to observe that no forensic analysis (DNA) was conducted to prove the prosecution’s case beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

Mr Obala committed the crimes between April and July 12, 2016 against the girls, two of whom were 15 years old at the time and one 14.

According to court records, he also touched them inappropriately in that period.

The clergyman earlier claimed the charges were fabricated and that the evidence used was singe-sourced – from members of the same family.

“The court failed to appreciate that that the prosecution case lacked corroboration to support a conviction,” he said.

After the court sentenced Mr Obala, lawyer Steve Akoko said he wold appeal the whole judgement and check whether there was full compliance with the law during the trial.

“The bishop is a layman so he could have missed procedures or technicalities during the trial,” he said.

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