A Kenyan man in the United Kingdom who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) and then spent months in rehab in Kenya has been banned from driving for five years in that country.
Walter Kinuthia, 35, refused to open the doors of his car when he was stopped by police on Barton Road in Oxford. He was also accused of giving a false name and refusing to follow other police orders.
“He says he doesn’t like to give details and doesn’t trust the officer,” the Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard.
The officers eventually uncovered his true identity, discovering that he was disqualified from driving until 2024. They noticed open bottles of whisky in the car.
When he was taken to a police station, he refused to provide a breath sample to test whether he was over the drink-drive limit.
“He says he’s not happy to provide and doesn’t trust the officer,” the court heard.
His attorney told the court that her client, who worked as a caregiver, had witnessed unending deaths and suffered a mental breakdown during the pandemic.
When he appeared in court last November, Mr Kinuthia admitted that he had a suspended licence, was driving with no insurance and had failed to provide a breath sample.
Disappeared without leave
He then disappeared without leave for eight months.
His lawyer said Mr Kinuthia returned to Kenya, where he checked himself into a mental health facility. He stopped drinking for five months.
In August, he flew back to the UK and surrendered to the court to finalise the pending case against him.
“The day after he landed, he handed himself in at court because he knew this was pending,” his lawyer said.
20 weeks in prison
He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison with a two-year reprieve and ordered to undergo six months of mental health treatment. The court also fined him Sh30,000 in costs.
“There was a reason why you had been disqualified in the first place and you wilfully disobeyed that order and we heard when you were stopped you were driving at speed and fairly recklessly,” the judge said.
Driving while disqualified carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment.
The court also heard that Mr Kinuthia had first been banned in 2013 for driving with excess alcohol in his system. He was subsequently given further disqualifications for drink-driving.