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Africa

Justice for 33-Year-Old Flight Attendant in Kenya

After three years waiting for justice in a case of false accusations in Kenya, 33-year-old flight attendant Patrick was acquitted last month.

On Friday 26 April 2019, Patrick was all nerves as he paced along the court’s corridors, anxiously waiting for the verdict. He knew too well how the justice system can turn on someone – being declared guilty of an offence you haven’t committed.

On Christmas Day 2015, Patrick had been brutally assaulted by a senior police officer who later covered up the assault by charging him with a crime he didn’t commit.

The police officer accused Patrick of being in possession of an illegal gun, an offence that carries a sentence of at least seven years in prison, as well as a charge of resisting arrest, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

IJM lawyers had fought for Patrick’s exoneration, jumping hurdle after hurdle in their pursuit of justice.

After three difficult years, the court acquitted Patrick saying the allegations by the police officers would result in a “risky conviction.”

“In my view, it will be a travesty of justice if he is convicted based on what the police officers claim,” the Chief Magistrate ruled.

After the assault and subsequent accusations, Patrick lost opportunities at work because of the false charges. Now he is eager to move on with his life.

“We serve a God of justice. It has not been easy for me. I was in mental stress and there was a point I was really depressed,” Patrick said. “I can have my life back.”

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