Home / Free Speech / Martha Miano arraigned in court facing four counts of posting annoyance messages on Facebook
Martha Miano Wanjiru. Photo courtesy of Joseph Wangui
Martha Miano Wanjiru. Photo courtesy of Joseph Wangui

Martha Miano arraigned in court facing four counts of posting annoyance messages on Facebook

Martha Wanjiru Miano was arraigned in court on Monday facing four counts of posting annoyance messages on Facebook. She appeared before Principal Magistrate Desiderius Orimba where she denied all the charges.

The court heard that Miano, 25, posted an update on Facebook alleging that Governor Nderitu Gachagua’s brother, Rigathi Gachagua had hijacked Mathira water community project by procuring and financing goons and a local MCA. She allegedly committed the offence on December 29, 2015 at unknown place in Kenya.

In the second count, she was charged with referring to Rigathi as ‘a gun for hire and a political broker’. She had alleged that Rigathi was sabotaging development projects in Mathira constituency.

The court further heard that, Miano posted a message indicating that the Governor’s brother was ‘known for dirty politics’. She had alleged that Rigathi was dishing out money to residents gained from coffee farmers. It is alleged that she committed the second and third offences on December 30, this year.

In the fourth count, the court heard that the accused person posted a statement alleging that the complainant, Rigathi, was inciting locals and buying them alcohols. The court was told that she committed the offence on January 7, 2016.

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It is not the first time she is arraigned in court over similar charges and the same complainant. Earlier in the months, she was arrested but released unconditionally after Nyeri Resident Magistrate John Aringo ruled that her seven day detainment was violation of the Constitution and that the police affidavit of detaining her was wrongly drafted.

The prosecution said the accused made the statements knowing they were false and intended to annoy the complainant. However, through lawyer Irungu Kang’ata, who is Kiharu MP, the accused prayed to be released on bond saying that the offence was misdemeanor and has cooperated with police.

Ms. Miano is accused to have annoyed Mr. Rigathi, a crime under 29 of the Kenya Information and Communication (KICA) Act, CAP 411 of the laws of Kenya. The section says

A person who by means of a licensed telecommunication system—

(a) sends a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

(b) sends a message that he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another person

commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both.

Martha Miano was arrested on Saturday by Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) officers in Karatina town and later released on police bond of sh5,000.

Kang’ata said the accused was a mother of one and would not jump bail. The court released her on a sh300,000 bond or a cash bail of sh100,000.

The case has been scheduled to be heard on May 9, this year with a mention of April 4, 2016.

Kang’ata asked court to take judicial notice that the accused had been arrested early this month and a magistrate’s court found the charges erroneous. He said the accused has suffered enough.

About shitemi khamadi

Shitemi is the Kenya Monitor Managing Editor. He trains journalists on basics of journalism, storytelling, conflict sensitive journalism and devolution.

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