A woman who has spent six months in custody for failing to raise a Sh5,000 cash bail was Tuesday restrained by a Nairobi court from changing her plea to guilty just to speed up her case.
Ms Mary Wanjiku, who had pleaded not guilty to selling illicit chang’aa, wanted to change her plea so she can serve the sentence and go home to take care of her children.
“I have been in custody for the past six months and this case does not seem to move. I urge this honourable court to allow me change my plea. Since I was arrested, I have not seen my children and I don’t know who is taking care of them,” she told Makadara Senior Resident Magistrate Emily Nyongesa.
She made the remarks when her case came up for hearing, only for the prosecution to say it did not have the police file.
The magistrate however said it was not possible for the accused to change her plea midway.
“You cannot accept mistakes just because you are suffering or you don’t know the whereabouts of your children,” said Mrs Nyongesa. When the magistrate gave her response, Ms Wanjiku asked to be released on a free bond.
“Since you were released on a cash bail, it cannot change into a free bond. How much money can you raise?” asked the magistrate. “I can only get Sh2,000,” replied Ms Wanjiku. “Fine, then I have reduced your cash bail from Sh5,000 to Sh2,000,” said Mrs Nyongesa. The case will be heard on May 18.