Court frees man who stomped on child's head in scuffle after girlfriend's 'secret calls'

A gavel.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A New Year party almost turned tragic for the mother of two children who had invited her friends to celebrate crossing over to 2023 at her residence in Mtongwe area in Likoni, Mombasa County.

The party hosted by Ms Jane Auma went down well until around 10 pm when a scuffle ensued between Mr Hesbone Otieno Alo and his girlfriend that left the host’s two children with injuries.

Ms Auma’s husband had invited Mr Otieno and his girlfriend to his house to celebrate the New Year.

The scuffle landed Mr Otieno in court for the offences of creating a disturbance and injuring the two minors aged two months and three years respectively.

The charge sheet presented in Mombasa Law Court on Thursday indicated that the suspect created a disturbance in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace by fighting and chasing people from Ms Auma’s house.

He was further accused of assaulting the two minors thereby causing them actual bodily harm.

Mr Otieno pleaded guilty to the three offences when he appeared before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Ritah Orora.

But what caused the scuffle?

As Mr Otieno put it, his girlfriend was receiving secret phone calls at the party and he suspected that she was cheating on him.

To ensure that the unnamed girlfriend received no more phone calls during the party, Mr Otieno angrily attempted to snatch the phone from her.

Police records that accompanied the charge sheet to the court indicate that Mr Otieno started behaving abnormally when the girlfriend’s secret phone calls were getting too many.

“The accused forcefully tried to grab the mobile phone, which was being used by his girlfriend, claiming that she was communicating with other people so there was no need for her to remain with the phone,” said the police report.

The record further indicates that the suspect started fighting with the girlfriend, and anybody who tried to stop him was chased away from Ms Auma’s house.

It happened that the girlfriend was holding Ms Auma’s two-month-old baby when the suspect attacked her. 

“The suspect grabbed the baby from his girlfriend and negligently threw her away without minding where she would land. The people who were there tried in vain to stop the baby from falling on the ground,” the police said.

Ms Auma who had stepped out was called and informed about the fight. 

She hurried back to the house and helped in chasing Mr Otieno from her house.

“In the process, the suspect mercilessly stepped on the head of the three-year-old child who was at the time sleeping nearby. She sustained an injury on her eyes,” the police said.

The police said it took the intervention of the members of the public who heard the scuffle to force the suspect out of the room. The woman reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Mr Otieno.

When he appeared in court on Wednesday, the suspect pleaded guilty to the offences.

“She was receiving phone calls,” said Otieno.

Dramatic twist

Things however took a dramatic twist on Thursday when Ms Auma appeared in court and asked that the charges against Mr Otieno be withdrawn.

Prosecution Counsel Yassir Mohamed communicated this change of mind to the court, but the magistrate was reluctant to do so.

“What about the offences against the minors? The magistrate asked the prosecutor.

However, after Ms Auma after interrogation said she had not been forced or coerced to drop the case prompting the magistrate to withdraw the charges against Otieno and set him free.

“I have decided to forgive him. He is a friend of my husband and he has stayed with me for a long time so I consider him a family member,” the woman said.

Ms Auma however caused more confusion in court when she first said that the suspect was her husband.

It was after the suspect denied that Auma was not his wife that the court compelled her to clarify their relationship.

“My husband has travelled,” she later said.

Though it was not clear to the court how the two were related, the magistrate decided to let the matter rest by acquitting Mr Otieno as had been requested by Ms Auma.