Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blow to family as court upholds death sentence against four men


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Photo/ROBERT NYAGAH  The head of the Charo Shutu family Mr Noti Shutu and a brother argue with the Coast PC Mr Ernest Munyi (in glasses, facing camera) when he toured the land occupied by the Charo Shutu Family.
Photo/ROBERT NYAGAH The head of the Charo Shutu family Mr Noti Shutu and a brother argue with the Coast PC Mr Ernest Munyi (in glasses, facing camera) when he toured the land occupied by the Charo Shutu Family. 
Posted  Wednesday, March 21  2012 at  22:30

A controversial Malindi family is in shock after the High Court upheld a death sentence slapped on four of its members for robbery with violence.

The four are Mzee Charo Shutu’s sons Biria Charo Shutu and Kingi Fondo Shutu and grandsons Festus Kahindi Shutu and Amani Charo Shutu.
Ironically, their victim, Mr Japheth Noti Charo is one of Mzee Shutu’s older sons.
Mzee Shutu, who died several years ago, had 38 wives and 49 sons and was the patriarch of the family gazetted as a criminal gang on March 15, 2002, by the Internal Security Minister at the time, Mr Julius Sunkuli.
The family, with vast land interests in Malindi and its neighbourhood, was listed among 18 terror groups that included Mungiki, Al-Shaabab, Chinkororo and Jeshi la Mzee. Last year the gazettement was overturned.
On Wednesday, the family faulted the court verdict and vowed to take the battle to the Court of Appeal.
“The decision is wrong. It did not take into consideration several issues we raised in our appeal. Many of the issues required an in-depth investigation, which was not done,” said one of Mzee Shutu’s sons, Mr Gilbert Shutu.
In the judgment delivered last Friday, High Court judges Francis Tuiyot and Christine Meoli dismissed the four’s appeal, saying it had no merit.

The prosecution said the four had walked into Mr Japheth Noti Charo’s bar in Mbuzi Wengi area in Malindi around 3pm on September 28, 2006, carrying weapons, and stolen property worth Sh40,500.
Chief magistrate Lucy Gitari found them guilty of robbery with violence and sentenced them to death, but acquitted them on the count of malicious damage to property.
They challenged the conviction and sentencing for capital robbery in the High Court. It was not a case of robbery with violence but mere assault, they argued, and the magistrate erred in law and fact.
They also argued that the charge sheet was defective and could not be used as a basis for conviction and that the evidence presented was weak, fabricated and uncorroborated.
Key witnesses, they added, were not called by the prosecution.
But dismissing the case, Mr Justice Tuiyot and Lady Justice Meoli found no merit for the first ground raised saying, the charge sheet had informed the appellants with sufficient detail the offence they were facing.
The judges noted that the evidence presented at trial indicated the offence committed was not just an assault, but robbery with violence.

Dodged by controversy
“Appellants used force and inflicted bodily injury to the complainant in addition to robbing him of his valuables.
“The appeal against both convictions and sentence is hereby dismissed,” they declared.
Mzee Shutu’s family has been dodged with controversy since his death on July 7, 2003.
Mr Charo wa Shutu, a famous traditional dancer in Kilifi County, had a huge family, including four brothers. It was beset with divisions and disputes with some of its members ending up in the courts charged with various offences.
In an earlier interview with the Daily Nation, the first-born son, Mr Japhet Noti Charo Shutu, alias Janja, said the differences revolved around property inheritance and ownership.
The family is believed to own 473 acres of prime land within a Malindi suburb, which has been the bone of contention among the brothers.
The land was allegedly given to Mr Charo wa Shutu by two brothers of a Malindi prominent Arab family, who had close ties with the patriarch around 1968.
Before forming his dance troupe, Mr Shutu worked at the Malindi council’s sewerage department.
It was after retiring from this job that he formed the dance group, consisting of his young wives and children, which performed in tourist hotels and during national day fetes.

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