By Simon Kyalo
A Kwale court has freed two suspects found in possession of charcoal and 8 logs at Galana forest.
The suspects Salim Athman and Fathma Salim according to police, were arrested on 24th January at around 9000 hours by Kwale forest rangers in collaboration with Kwale community scouts,
The court heard that Kwale forest rangers and some community scouts during their normal patrol heard unnecessary movements in Galana forest.
This prompted the scouts and the forest ragers to quickly surround the area and apprehended the two.
The court was further told that Salim Athman and Fathma Salim were taken to kwale police station where charges of trespassing a government gazetted area were preferred.
According to the rangers, the two had no a government permit allowing them to be in the government gazette property.
Appearing before resident magistrate Ruth Ogolla on 29th January 2024, the suspect pleaded guilty saying they were trying to fend for their families
During the search, the suspects were found in possession of half sack of charcoal, and 8 logs of an indigenous tree called “Mtandarusi” that were believed to be worth 34,076 shillings in total
“Mheshimiwa jaji sisi tulifanya hivi kwa sababu ya njaa maanake tumetafuta vibarua na tumekosa, watoto nao walifukuzwa shuleni kwa sababu ya karo kwaiyo tungeiomba mahakama ituhurumie na kutusamehea na tunaahidi hatutaturidia tendo kama hili tena”,,, ,,,,,,, ” Honourable judge we did such an act due to hunger because we’ve tried looking for small tasks to do but all ends in vain, our children are home because of fee arrears and we therefore plead with the court to have mercy on us and we promise to never be involved in such an act again”
The resident magistrate also quipped that such an offence is equal to six months in prison or a fine of 50,000 Kenyan shillings.
“I had decided to have you in prison for five days and pay Sh2000 but since you already have been in cell for five days I have decided to free you,” she said.
The two suspects were warned by the resident magistrate that should they be found committing any offence in the next six months they’ll be sentenced to six months of imprisonment of a fine of 50,000 Kenyan shillings.