My Journey to Nairobi Remand
My first Court Appearance in Nairobi, Kenya
After two weeks stay in the police custody, I was taken to the court by a heavily built, oversize man who happened to be my investigation officer. As we were in the police range rover, the oversize man kept promising me that we would return to the police station as soon as the magistrate mentions my case, that the investigation of my case was not yet complete and that the attorney general will have to look at my file before I’m taken to the prison, but I realized later that it was a false pretense, a habit many investigating officers adore. This is because what happened later was a different story Altogether.
Before entering the court cells, we lined up for our details to be taken because there were many of us from different police stations. When the officer taking details reached on me and after reading the charge sheet, he exclaimed. “What! You slaughtered a man? My friend you will rot in prison!” by that all who were near me started looking at me, perhaps having a picture of a witch, or a very bad man, but I gathered courage to tell that junk of a person that manslaughter is different from murder, that I may be imprisoned for just one day; “but why did you kill a man?” he questioned, “are you sure I killed a man? Were you there?” I hit back at him, by that he commented that I was a very dangerous criminal because I even appeared very rude! He continued with his work as he let me inside the cell.
Inside the cell, most of my fellow suspects were panicking and restless, perhaps , they were in last minute attempt to salvage themselves from going into prison, as some were making phone calls to their relatives to save them, perhaps with bond or fines, others were lamenting on why the complainant had taken them to court ‘innocently’ . Others were vowing that such people will see fire once they are released; I wondered why they couldn’t pray for their release in the first place!
Around I0.00 clock, the magistrate arrived, (I wonder where she was from 8.00 o’clock) we were taken inside the court through the back door one by one.
As we were waiting on the line for our turn to enter, my mind was pondering on so many things. One, questions I would ask the witness, if they happened to be in the court, you see I didn’t know the and procedures for I had earlier thought that the first day would be a trial day, and that is when my fate would be realized, whether to be free again or proceed to the prison! So when I was told that the first day was just a mention and reading charges only and then you will be placed in ‘safe custody’ if you have no bond or bail, I was awestruck. Awestruck because, I had left my family in a very pathetic situation considering that I was the bread winner. So I designed a very cute defense to the magistrate to show that I was an innocent guy who is being persecuted for nothing. My reasoning was that the magistrate may hear my case and release me immediately, had I known that that would make the magistrate, court officials and other attendants laugh in court, I could have changed my mind earlier but just like one politicians” first day at the Hague, I could not blame my self since I had never been in court in the first place. You see one politician accused of charges against humanity had never been at The Hague before, so he didn’t know court procedures. That is why when he was asked to identify himself; he started his defense and telling the court of his innocence.
‘Your honor, I never participated in killing my own son, In fact was very happy to have sired a baby son, there is no way a normal person can kill his own son. Your honor even the doctors can confirm to you that I didn’t kill it your honor”. That well crafted statement ignited laughter inside the court room to my amusement, within seconds, I had found myself at the court cells taking tin baked beans and biscuits for lunch as we waited the prison bus.