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Three to serve 15 years in jail for attacking journalist

During the attack, Mr Gona sustained a deep cut on the head

A Malindi Court has sentenced three young men to 15 years imprisonment each for attacking and causing grievous harm to a Malindi-based journalist.

Senior Principal Magistrate James Ongondo found Kennedy Makau Kazungu, Anderson Kazungu Makau and Justine Kazungu Makau guilty of causing grievous harm to Nation correspondent Alex Kalama Gona.

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The three ambushed Mr Gona as he was unclogging a blocked trench at his home in Kwa Ndomo area of Malindi town and attacked himusing a hammer, wooden sticks and pipes as well as kicks and blows on October 30, 2022. During the attack, Mr Gona sustained a deep cut on the head.

The court heard that on the material day, Mr Gona arrived at home at about 7.00 pm and proceeded to unclog a blocked trench after realising that water was stagnant after using the toilet, oblivious of the fact that the assailants were lying in wait to attach him.

Mr Gona told the court that Kennedy Kazungu hit him on the head with a hammer as the other co-accused were hitting him in the ribs and other parts of the body. He screamed in pain attracting the attention a neighbour known as Jackson Kumbeja, who owns a hotel nearby.

“I was bent unblocking a trench when these people attacked me. Kennedy Kazungu hit me on the head with a hammer as Anderson and Justine hit me on the ribs and other body parts. Jackson Kumbeja from his hotel heard me and came to my rescue,” Gona narrated during the hearing of the case.

Mr Kumbeja told the court that upon arrival at the scene he saw the accused persons attacking Mr Gona, noting that Kennedy Kazungu hit Mr Gona with a hammer as he vowed to finish him while the two others were hitting him with logs as their victim tried to get away from the scene.

“When I arrived at the scene, Mr Gona was being attacked by the accused persons. I saw Kazungu hitting him with a hammer as he vowed to finish him while the two co-accused persons were hitting him with logs as Mr Gona tried to run to save his life,” Kumbeja told the court.

Kumbeja said he assisted Mr Gona to get to a nearby garage wherein they got a motor cycle rider who assisted him to get to hospital and later to Malindi police station where the matter was reported.

On their way to the garage, they met Mamazidi-Charity Masoud who told the court that she saw Gona bleeding from the head and his clothes were soaked in blood.

A medical report presented in court by a Dr Rimba stated that the victim’s skull had fractures with a deep cut on the head. The injuries were so severe that Gona was admitted in hospital on October 31, 2022 and discharged on November 4, 2022.

In defence, Kennedy Kazungu denied the claims saying he was at work on the material day, a position that contradicted his own sworn testimony, which stated that he saw Gona and his fellow conspirators discussing the issue of invading their land and that he was at the crime scene and even saw Gona scream in pain.

Justine Makau told the court that he was with Anderson Makau, when the latter told him he had seen Gona going to unblock a trench and that he heard a commotion when Shalet Masha, a neighbour, shouted that Gona had been attacked.

Justine denied injuring Gona despite being placed at the scene by the witnesses who saw him attacking the compliant.

Their lawyer, Mr Allan Gambo insisted that that the accused were innocent and that they were defending themselves.

“The accused are neighbours to the complainant. It is proper that the relationship between neighbours is maintained. We pray for leniency,” he told the court in mitigation.

He said his clients were remorseful, they were all married and the sole bread winners of their respective families and urged the court to give them non-custodial sentence.

While sentencing the convicts, Mr. Ong’ondo said although he had considered the convicts’ mitigation, they acted in concert and roughly and grievously attacked the complainant in broad day light.

“This conduct ought to be stopped by appropriate sentence and a custodial is suitable in this case. I sentence each accused person to fifteen (15) imprisonment, the maximum sentence being life imprisonment,” he said.

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