Catholic priest accused of defilement detained for 12 more days

Thika chief magistrate Stella Atambo to rule on bond next month

In Summary
  • The probation officer is to file a report before the bail ruling is made on April 8
  • The prosecution has opposed the bail application saying the priest is influential and may interfere with witnesses. 
Image: FILE

A Catholic priest (Fr Abednego, not his real name) accused of defilement has been detained by a Thika court for another 12 days pending the determination of his bail application.

He is accused of defiling the victim between 2020 and August 2023 at his home in Buruburu Phase 5 in Nairobi county. The priest is also facing an alternative charge of indecent assault.

Fr Abednego, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, had applied for his release on bond. The prosecution opposed the application.

When the bail/bond application came up for determination on Wednesday, the prosecution, led by Christine Torome, told Thika chief magistrate Stella Atambo it was important to have a pre-bail report before a decision was made.

The prosecution maintained the accused is in a position of influence and power and is likely to interfere with the witnesses. 

Earlier, the priest's defence, led by senior counsel Charles Kanjama, while praying for his release on temporary or substantive bond terms, told the court the accused person was not a flight risk because his place of work is well known.

He also downplayed the likelihood of the accused person interfering with witnesses, especially his alleged victim.

"The victim is in a protective situation or environment and so, that specific right of the victim is not in question, whether the accused person is released on bail or not," Kanjama told the court.

Atambo, while making her determination whether there must be a pre-bail report to guide the court in the pronouncement of grant or denial of bail/bond, observed that the court is obligated to consider the rights of all parties, including the alleged victim.

"A pre-bail report is the only way to get neutral information that will aid the court in arriving at a fair decision. The court has to balance both the rights of the accused person and the victim, hence the need to get all relevant information," Atambo said.

 "At this point, the court has not determined whether to grant or deny bail and under what terms."

The court directed the probation officer to file and serve all parties a pre-bail report, inclusive of the alleged victim's impact statement, by close of business on April 5, 2024.

Atambo also observed that further submissions, if any or need be, shall be made on April 8, 2024, when the application will be determined.

Fr Abednego has been staying with the alleged victim with his family, until they separated following his arrest on January 24, 2024.

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