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Costly affair: Man to hang for killing friend over Sh200 debt

A man is staring at a long jail term after he was found guilty of killing his friend over a Sh200 debt.

Mwarua Daniel Masa now faces a maximum of life imprisonment after the High Court in Mombasa convicted him of the offence of manslaughter after seven years of trial.

Justice Ann Ong’injo reduced the charge from murder to that of manslaughter after finding that the intention to kill was not proved.

“The element of malice aforethought has, therefore, not been proved and the accused person is acquitted of the offence of murder but found guilty for the offence of manslaughter,” said Justice Ong’injo.

Masa was charged with the offence of murder. He was accused of killing Jackson Musyoka on September 9, 2018, at Majimoto village in Lunga Lunga within Kwale county.

The prosecution case was that Masa went to the deceased house to demand for his Sh200 debt. He did not find him so Masa decided to take a table as a replacement for his debt.

However, as Masa was leaving with the table, the deceased arrived and held onto the table and they started struggling. Masa then picked a hoe stick and hit the deceased on the head.

The deceased’s wife told the court that Masa used a hoe stick to hit him on the head and face.

“Masa was with the hoe stick when he came to our home to demand for his money,” she said.

She said that her effort to take her husband to hospital for treatment went futile as she did not have money at the time.

“At 3am, the deceased started bleeding from the mouth. He succumbed to the injuries when the vehicle arrived to take him to the hospital,” said the witness.

The deceased’s mother also testified in the case, saying she found the deceased and Masa fighting when she responded to a scream from her son’s house.

“My son had fallen to the ground. I stood between the accused and the deceased and that is when the fight stopped. I snatched the hoe stick from the accused and the accused ran away,” she said.

Medical report produced in the court showed that the deceased suffered blunt head injuries that led to his death.

Masa denied the charge, but defended himself confirming that he had gone to the deceased’s house to collect his debt.

The debt was a balance of money he had paid for solar lamp that he returned to the deceased.

“I waited for him for so long but as I was leaving, I met the deceased who asked me why I was talking to his wife. An exchange of words then ensued and we started struggling,” he said.

According to Masa, he did not hit the deceased but he fell on a stone during the scuffle.

Despite finding Masa guilty of unlawfully causing the death of Musyoka, the judge said the accused did not have the intention to assault the deceased and inflict grievous bodily harm and even to cause his death.

“If the deceased had not held on to the table and started to struggle with him, the fight could not have ensued. This court therefore finds that the accused did not have the intention to assault the deceased and inflict grievous bodily harm and even to cause his death,” said the judge.

The court noted that evidence tabled in the case showed that Masa  had not planned to go and pick a fight with Musyoka but to demand for his Sh200 when he went to the deceased’s home.

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