Kenya: Former Java Boss Freed on Bail
19 January 2010
Nairobi — Convict Jon Cardon Wagner secured his release Tuesday pending appeal after the High Court ordered him to deposit Sh1 million in court.
Justice Mohammed Warsame also ordered the former Nairobi Java Coffee House boss to deposit his passport with the registrar of the High Court and to notify the court and the director of immigration whenever he plans to travel out of the country.
In releasing him, Justice Warsame said that after hearing his application, he had established that Wagner had an arguable appeal.
The Judge also said the appeal was not frivolous and had chances of success.
Wagner was found guilty of defiling three under-age girls and sentenced to 15 years in prison in August last year.
Trial magistrate Teresia Ngugi ruled that the prosecution had proved its case against Wagner.
He immediately filed an appeal faulting the magistrate of amending the charge sheet without giving him a chance to plead to the charges and to his lawyers, a chance to cross-examine the witnesses again.
Arguing his case before Justice Warsame, Wagner said his appeal had “overwhelming chances of success.”
He further pointed out that the appeal was likely to take a considerable time before it was heard and it was in the interest of justice that he be freed on bail pending the appeal.
The former Nairobi Java Coffee House boss told the court that his case had “exceptional and unusual circumstances” to warrant the application.
He has filed 51 grounds in the appeal and, according to his lawyer Pravin Bowry, all of them are “overwhelming in nature.”
Mr Bowry attacked the principal magistrate’s decision, saying that she joined the fray and assisted the prosecution in the case.
The American was charged under a section of the Sexual Offences Act which provides for a minimum of 15 years jail term.
However, the children he was convicted of defiling are covered under a different section which attracts a minimum of 20 years in prison.
“Her judgment was flawed and unjust,” argued Mr Bowry.
Wagner was put on his defence by the magistrate after hearing evidence from 22 witnesses including the minors and ageing grandparents.
He is alleged of to have defiled the girls at his Lavington home between June 5 and 7, 2008.
Wagner was charged alongside two women, Ms Fetha Nyamweru and Ms Judy Nyaguthie who were accused of exposing the girls to prostitution.
The women were sentenced to 10 years in jail each for subjecting the minors to prostitution.
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