Three men were freed by a Mombasa court after they refunded Sh650 that prosecutors said they had stolen from another man.
The accused stunned a Mombasa magistrate when one of them produced Sh1,000 from which they wanted the court to deduct Sh650 they were accused of stealing from a pedestrian in Likoni area.
Beja Kamanza, Ali Mwandori and Nyamawi Mwawira were charged with stealing and pleaded guilty to the offence.
Senior Resident Magistrate Edgah Kagoni heard that they jointly stole the money from Mood Chokopwe Nyanje on July 17 at Kona Zamani in Likoni.
One of the accused, Mr Mwandori, removed a Sh1,000 note from his innerwear, saying they wanted to refund the money to the complainant.
The other two suspects, Mr Beja and Mr Nyamawia, told the magistrate that it was Mr Mwandori who had stolen the money but they were also arrested.
“We admitted to the theft because the complainant mistook us for the thief who stolen the money from him. It is Mwandori who stole the money,” they said.
However, Mr Mwandori denied the claim, saying they were all victims of mistaken identity and that the complainant was robbed by one Wateja, who he said is a drug addict.
He claimed the drug addict escaped and they were arrested after the complainant pointed them out to the police.
In his ruling, the magistrate ordered the prosecution to deduct Sh650 from the Sh1,000 and give the balance to the suspects.
“You will get your refund of Sh350 from the prosecutor. You are free to go home,” ruled the magistrate amid jubilation from the trio.