Man hit by bullet yet to get Sh1.5m award

Samuel Gitahi who hails from Laikipia points at a wound he sustained after he was mistakenly shot by a police officer

A man’s noble response to a distress call left him with permanent injuries even as he pursues compensation in the corridors of justice. Samuel Gitahi, whose shoulder was shuttered by a bullet fired by an Administration Police officer ten years ago in Laikipia County, has sued Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho for failing to pay Sh1.5 million awarded to him by the magistrate’s court in Nyahururu last year.

In the Judicial Review application filed at the High Court, he wants the court to compel Mr Kibicho to pay the Sh1,561,507 plus the cost he incurred in the case and interest accrued from December 12, 2016.

He also wants the PS penalised for contempt of court.

Through his lawyer Martin Waichungo, Mr Gitahi says in the application set for hearing on July 26 that if the court fails to take legal action against the PS, the judgment delivered by the magistrate’s court, decree and certificate of costs will be rendered useless to great loss on his part.

The small scale farmer in Gatundia village was awarded the money by Chief Magistrate Judith Wanjala who ruled that the police be held liable for the shooting.

He had sued the Attorney General in 2014 over the shooting.

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The Chief Magistrate said it was the police officer’s duty to ensure that the public do not fall victim in the incident.

“The act of firing many bullets at a person who is not firing back in the presence of civilians was negligence,” she said.

Gitahi’s misery started on April 30, 2008 at midnight when he joined other villagers in answering to a call of distress from a neighbor who had been attacked by robbers.

On the way, they decided to hide and see if they could spot the suspects before they  proceeded to the scene after they saw APs from Rumuruti post who had responded to the incident.

At the home, they did not find anybody and a group of officers decided to patrol the area while Gitahi, the villagers and two officers remained outside the homestead.

Suddenly a man emerged from a nearby road and was ordered by the police to stop, only to realise he was armed with an AK47 rifle.

“That person was standing between me and the askari (police)….The askari started shooting at the thug but the bullets and also hit me.” Gitahi who was shot twice on the back and on the left shoulder recounted the incident in court when he gave his evidence in 2015.

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He was rushed to Nyahururu Districtic Hospital but was later transferred to Surgicare Centre in Nyeri where he spent one and a half months undergoing treatment.

Part of the treatment involved grafting of the skin on the left shoulder.

Gitahi has not been to perform his duties as he cannot bend for long. Medical reports produced in court showed Gitahi suffered 20 per cent disability.

The court awarded him Sh1.2 million for general damages and Sh199,250 for special damages.

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