There was drama at a Kitui court yesterday after the magistrate acquitted a former Catholic priest charged with attempted murder.
The complainant, Veronica Mutua, sobbed uncontrollably in the court room after Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi delivered his ruling, acquitting Father Japheth Kimanzi of the charges for lack of evidence.
“Mimi sijapata hakina mtoto wangu, mtoto wangu ni mlemavu kwa sababu Fatheralituchapa, akafanyamtoto wangu kuwa mlemavu, haoni na hatembei (I have been denied justice, both I and my child, my child is blind and crippled following the brutal attack on us by Father (Kimanzi),” a sobbing Ms Mutua told journalists outside the courtroom.
“Miminiko na mzigo mkubwa, Father hanisaidiikulea mtoto wangu, na aiinikosanisha na wazazi wangu (I have a big burden to shoulder because Father (Kimanzi) does not help me, he messed up my relationship with my parents),” she added before breaking down.
Carrying her nine-year-old child, now deaf and blind allegedly due to injuries suffered during the attempted murder, Ms Mutua accused the court of shielding the priest from justice.
“I urge people of goodwill to intervene and ensure justice for my child is served through an appeal of the case,” said Ms Mutua.
Father Kimanzi had been charged with attempting to kill Ms Mutua with whom he had fathered a child.
He was also accused of attempting to kill the child.
As soon as the verdict was delivered, Ms Mutua broke down, lamenting that she had been denied justice.
In his ruling, the magistrate stated that there was no concrete evidence linking Father Kimanzi to the assault that caused grievous harm to both the child and her mother.
According to the prosecution, Father Kimanzi, who has since been ex-communicated from the Catholic Church, had caused grievous bodily harm to Ms Mutua, with whom he had fathered the child while she was in form two.
The prosecution had produced witnesses who detailed to the court how the former priest plotted the attack on Ms Mutua and her child with a view to covering up his philandering ways.
The attack took place on the night of November 16, 2015.
The minor suffered permanent disability including damaged brain and crippled legs.
Witness testimonies and documentary evidence, including a DNA report presented in court, undicated that Father Kimanzi, who was in charge of Kabati Parish under the Kitui Catholic Diocese, refused to take responsibility for the child and frustrated efforts by Ms Mutua’s family to get justice.
The court heard how the priest ensnared Ms Mutua with cash and material gifts before impregnating her while serving at the Nuu Catholic Parish.
Struggles of raising baby
“I dropped out of school in shame having let down my parents. My peers ridiculed me for coveting a priest and I’ve been struggling to raise the baby on my own since February 2012,” she narrated in her testimony.
On the fateful day, November 16, 2015, she said, Father Kimanzi invited her to Kabati parish offices to discuss about the child’s upkeep and medication, only to attack her and the baby.
Ms Mutua told the court how the priest emerged from a thicket and attacked her with a blunt object.
“I recognised my attacker was the same priest who had invited me to their home for reconciliation. I shouted his name but he responded by hitting my child who was still on my back, on the head and blood started oozing from her nose,” she narrated.
• Catholic priest Japheth Kimanzi was accused of luring the mother of his child to Kitui with the intent of killing her.
• It was claimed, as a result of being beaten, the child is deaf, blind and crippled.