Part of the 15 Nairobi Aviation students at Milimani law court where they were charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly, malicious damage to property and assault.
BY SAM ALFAN.
15 Nairobi Aviation students have been charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly, malicious damage to property and assault.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges and resident magistrate Miriam Mugure ordered them to execute Sh200, 000 personal cash bails or a bond of 400,000 and same surety to secure their freedom.
Firth accused Edwin Isoso, one of the accused, was further charged with going about in public while armed with a stone contrary to section 88 of the penal code and was ordered to pay cash bail of Sh 300,000 against the charge of being armed with stone and threatening members of the public.
“I have taken into account that the accused are all students, they have all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them, each one of them may be released on cash bail of Sh 200,000 except accused five who will deposit a cash bail of Sh 300, 000,” the magistrate said.
The 15 are part of 21 arrested yesterday and taken to the Central Police station following the protests that started at 9 am.
The students pelted stones at Nation Centre, destroying property before they were repulsed by police but they quickly regrouped and went back there. The rowdy students also roughed up journalists covering the protest, accusing them of spoiling their future by painting their college in bad light.
An expose about the college was aired on Sunday, sparking outrage from the students who say it is likely to limit their chances of getting jobs. Police have taken bags full of stones to be used as evidence against students arrested.
“I have instructions to apply for lenient bond terms if possible, the accused who are all students at Nairobi Aviation College are only victims of circumstances, “Lawyer Mukele pleaded.
They denied taking part in an unlawful assembly outside Nation Centre contrary to section 79 of the penal code.
The offence, the prosecution said, was committed jointly with others not before court.
The students also denied a charge stating that on the material day, at around 11am at Nation Centre, they “unlawfully assaulted Mr Solaton Njau, a photojournalist with Nation Media Group, occasioning him actual bodily harm.”
The prosecution said the students also damaged three window glasses valued at Sh 40,000 belonging to the media house, and that the offence was committed jointly with accomplices who escaped arrest.
Their lawyer Ngancho Mukele argued that the students “became aware” of a gag order earlier issued on January 30 which was meant to prevent NTV from airing the controversial expose and “were expressing their constitutional right through a peaceful protest.”
He submitted a copy of the order t the court but prosecutor Alice Penda objected it saying it was not part of the case and they had no connection with the charges against student before the court.
“As is their constitutional right, they peacefully protested at the disobedience against the court order when the expose was aired last Sunday,” lawyer Mukele submitted to the court.
He said the “tragic events” accompanying the protest “cannot be attributed to the students.”
However, prosecutor Alice Penda objected to the lawyer’s submissions, stating that the criminal case facing the students had nothing to do with the impugned court order.
The suspects have been ordered to return to court on February 16 for a mention of the case while the hearing was set for April 1 before the Nairobi chief magistrate’s court.