- Nyaga acquitted four other accused persons saying that they were just caught up in the mess created by Boro and that they had no intention of damaging the property of the complainant.
A man who set ablaze property worth Sh2.7 million in a Ruai land dispute has been fined Sh300,000.
Herman Boro had been charged with arson, assault and malicious damage to property.
The court heard that on July 24, 2011 at Githunguri in Ruai location within Nairobi county, the accused jointly with others, not before court, set fire on a building with property valued at Sh2,750,00.
The property belonged to John Mweu.
In the second count, Boro was charged with assaulting Mweu on July 24 in the same year. He was with accomplices who were not in court,.
Boro also faced a third charge of malicious damage to property.
The court heard that on August 23, 2011 in the same area jointly with Paul Muchangi, John Kamau, Martin Gachuru and Peter Njora, Boro damaged a four-bed-roomed permanent house valued at Sh900,000.
The house belonged to Mweu.
They all denied the charges.
In a judgment delivered on Friday, Makadara chief magistrate Heston Nyaga acquitted the four accused persons saying they were just caught up in the mess created by Boro and that they had no intention of damaging the property.
Nyaga said that the complainant will have to file a civil suit to recover the damaged property as he was not able to assess the loss.
“For the first count, the accused is fined Sh100,000 and in default to serve 18 months imprisonment. On count two, the accused is fined Sh50,000 in default to serve six months imprisonment. In count three, the accused is fined 50,000 in default to serve six months imprisonment,” the magistrate ruled.
He further directed that the accused pay damages of Sh100,000 for the injuries that the complainant sustained.
“Under section 26 of the Victim Protection Act, the same shall take precedence, meaning that the compensation will be paid before the fine is paid,” Nyaga said.
During the trial, Mweu said he had bought the plot from Mwitikinia Land Company for Sh65,000. The company had subdivided the 10-acre piece of land into 40 plots. He bought one of the plots.
It was during his stay that the accused and his brother went to his plot and claimed that the parcel had been irregularly sold to him.
The accused later went there with a group of men who beat up Mweu and demolished the fence. He was saved by neighbours who came to his rescue.
After a week, the accused returned with another group of men, who beat up Mweu again and set his house ablaze.
The house was razed to the ground and all his property valued at Sh2.7 million destroyed.
The attackers then fled.
On August 23, the accused returned with another group of men and they started demolishing the ruins of the house.
Neighbors surrounded and arrested them before taking them to a police station.
Boru, in his defence, said Mweu had put up a structure on land belonging to his mother who is deceased. He however did not have documents of ownership.
He claimed that he was not at the scene when the complainant was assaulted.
He claimed to have been arrested after he took some men to fence the land.
The magistrate said the court was persuaded that the accused maliciously damaged the remains of the structure that had been burned.
“Knowing very well that the ownership of the plot was contested, the accused instead of finding an amicable and peaceful solution, acted violently and maliciously. All he wanted was to frustrate the complainant,” Nyaga said.
Edited by P.O