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Judge apologises to ivory convict over appeal records

The High Court has apologised to a businessman sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for being in possession of ivory over delay in having a record of appeal corrected.

Justice Dora Chepkwony apologised over the delay in facilitating the record to enable Mr Feisal Ali Mohamed to challenge his conviction and sentence.

Mohamed was found guilty of being in possession of ivory valued at Sh44 million.

The court on Wednesday heard that Mohamed had requested to have the corrections made on the record of appeal almost six months ago.
The Judge directed a secretary from Mombasa law courts to go to Shanzu law courts where Mr Ali had been convicted and sentenced to ensure the record of appeal is proof read and rectified.
Justice Chepkwony said the proof reading and rectification of the record of appeal should be done under supervision of Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache.
The court had been told that secretaries at the Mombasa law courts were unable to read the handwriting of Ms Mochache hence the delay in rectifying the record of appeal.

Through lawyer Taib Ali Taib, the appellant (Mr Ali) said despite the goodwill shown of having to wait for six months, he feels depressed since ‘a straightforward’ issue of record was not being sorted.

“I humbly request to have a weekly mentions to follow the promises we get from Shanzu, it should not take more than three days to rectify,” said Mr Taib.

He had previously told the court that the record of appeal, which had earlier been presented to court had typographical errors and missing parts.

Mr Ali wants the conviction against him set aside saying the trial court found out that evidence by crucial prosecution witnesses was shaky and used it to acquit his co-accused yet used the same to convict him.

He said the trial court erred in law and fact that it convicted him on the basis of mere suspicion and arrived at the decision which was meant to appease the public.

Ms Mochache jailed Mr Ali and also imposed a Sh20 million fine on him.

She acquitted the accused on the second count of dealing with the ivory without a license.

Mr Abdul Halim Sadiq, Mr Ghalib Sadiq Kara,Mr Praverz Noor Mohamed and Mr Abdulmajeed Ibrahim who had been charged alongside Mr Ali were acquitted for lack of evidence.

However, the DPP has filed a petition of appeal seeking to have the acquittal of the four set aside and they be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr Ali had been charged with being in possession of 314 pieces of ivory weighing 2,152 kilograms.

He committed the offence on June 5 2014 at the business premises of Fuji Motors East Africa Limited situated along Tom Mboya Avenue, Tudor Estate Mombasa.

The case will be mentioned on March 13.

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