Ex-Isiolo MP Joseph Samal off the hook in incitement case

Former Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal

Former Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal who has been acquitted of an incitement charge due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Former Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal has been acquitted of an incitement charge due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Mr Samal, who was in June last year arraigned for reportedly inciting a community in Isiolo against the others, pleaded not guilty to the ethnic contempt charges and was released on a Sh100,000 bond.

The crime was reportedly committed on November 22, 2020 in Ngaremara ward.

But while delivering a 15-page-judgment, Isiolo Chief Magistrate Lucy Mutai said the prosecution team, which had lined up six witnesses, did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged offence.

Among the gaps in the case was failure by the investigating officer to record a statement from one Buke, who shared an audio clip with three other witnesses, and not visiting the alleged scene of crime as well as not interrogating those present when the incident occurred.

Crime scene not visited

In his testimony, the investigating officer said he travelled to Isiolo a day after the incident but did not visit the crime scene and did not give any reasons for the same.

Also, none of the witnesses knew when the alleged inciting words were uttered and no raw clip was submitted in court, with the prosecution unable to prove if the clip was manipulated or not.

The prosecution, as well as a voice expert, did not establish who made the recordings, the device that was used, where it was stored and if it was edited before being shared online.

All the witnesses admitted they did not see the accused person uttering the alleged words while addressing the public.

During cross-examination, the voice expert could not identify a voice at the tail end of the recording saying “Asante sana” (thank you).

Evidence not credible

“The court finds that the expert only relied on suspicion to conclude that it was the accused who spoke in the audio clip and his evidence is of little help to the prosecution and not credible to be relied upon,” Ms Mutai said.

The magistrate termed the expert an insincere witness, wondering why he had photos from the alleged meeting filed in his report while he should have focused on the clip that was provided in court.

The photos, the expert said, had been collected from a popular Facebook page with 22,900 members.

“At one time he stated that cyber security could identify the voice of people but did not identify that at the tail end of the clip,” the magistrate said.

Clip could have been manipulated

Despite saying they recognised the voice to be that of the accused person, four witnesses admitted that the clip could have been manipulated.

Evidence by one of the witnesses corroborated with Mr Samal’s testimony that on the material day, he had visited his mother in Kambi ya Juu and left around 5pm and that at no time did he travel to Ngaremara for a meeting as was claimed.

“The defence cast doubts on the prosecution’s case which was not challenged. The court finds that there is no sufficient evidence to link the accused person to the words spoken in the audio clip and acquits him,” the magistrate said.

Mr Samal is seeking a comeback as MP on the Jubilee Party ticket.


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