The family of a man who was killed by TV actor Davis Mwabili, popularly known as Inspekta Mwala, is incensed by the light sentence a Mombasa court handed him.
The actor, who knocked down and killed Ismael Mangi, 36, on the night of August 26 this year on the Kaloleni-Mazeras highway, was sentenced to a year in jail with the option of paying a Sh30,000 fine for causing death by dangerous driving Mangi’s family feel the actor was given a light sentence.
They point out that the amount Mwabili was fined is less than the Sh40,000 cash bail he was asked to pay a few hours after knocking down Mangi, at Kwa Randu as he headed to Rhino Cement Company, where he worked as a plant operator.
They note that is also lower than the bond he paid when he first pleaded not guilty to the offence, before changing his plea. It means that Mr Mwabili could walk back to the court accounts office and demand a Sh10,000 refund.
The victim’s family expressed disappointment at what the Rabai Police Station officers recorded in the occurrence book (OB) that Mr Mwabili had killed by dangerous driving, instead of a more serious offence.
They claimed the officers had been compromised to omit some information about the accident.
The victim’s father, Mr Alex Mangi, told the Nation that the police had said they could not prove the suspect was drunk, ending his further questioning.
The amended Section 12, Cap 403 of the Traffic Act on driving under the influence of alcohol attracts a fine of Sh500,000, or 10, years in jail, or both, while Section 46 of the Traffic Act stipulates that anyone who causes death by dangerous driving is liable to a fine of up to Sh100,000 or a year in jail.
Mangi’s family is aggrieved by the way the case was handled. They note that Mr Mwabili was taken to court 10 days after the accident on September 6.
The Daily Nation had sought to know from Rabai Police Sub-county Commander David Maina when Mr Mwabili would be taken to court.
The officer said Mr Mwabili would be charged after the postmortem exam.
The Nation later learned that the postmortem was conducted a day after the crash.
According to the family, the postmortem examination was conducted on August 28. Court documents indicate that it was done by a Dr Abdallah from Coast General Hospital.
At one point before the matter went to court, sources told the Nation that the family was being coerced to agree to an out-of-court settlement.
Asked whether there were efforts to reach an out-of-court deal, Mr Maina answered in the negative, saying, the State was the complainant in the matter.
“The family is not the complainant, it’s the republic on their behalf and a case of causing death cannot be settled out of court. We will charge him, and if the family wants to settle the matter out of court, it is up to them. But we will have done our part,” Mr Maina said.
On September 9, during his first appearance in court, Mr Mwabili pleaded not guilty and was given a Sh200,000 bond or Sh30,000 cash bail.
Then the case was set for mention on September 19.
When he appeared before Mariakani Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Adalo last Thursday, Mr Mwabili asked the court to read the charges against him afresh.
The particulars said that on August 26, at around 9pm, the accused, who was driving vehicle registration number KCV 807C from Kaloleni towards Mazeras tried to overtake another vehicle at a corner.
But his vehicle veered off the road and hit the pedestrian, who suffered head injuries and died on the spot.
Mr Mwabili pleaded guilty, but asked for leniency, saying, he had been a driver since 2007 and had never caused an accident.
“I’ve never even hit a dog. It was an accident, and I had no intention of causing it. I pray for leniency,” he said.
He added that he was planning to get in touch with the family to convey his personal condolences over causing the death of their kin.
Ms Adalo said that, while making her ruling, she had considered Mr Mwabili’s mitigation as well as the nature of the offence.