“Kithinji, when I look at the proceedings and your file, you are an innocent man. Go home, you are a free man…”
Those words hit David Kithinji hard. The judge, after reviewing his appeal, found him innocent. That was in April 17, 2018.
“I felt this big sigh of relief. I was elated. Happy. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh,” he says.
Pastor Kithinji, 49, was residing in Githurai when on May 4, 2012, he was arrested for allegedly defiling his step-daughter. His wife had framed him and her family, allegedly demanded Sh50,000 so that they could drop the case.
“I refused to give them the money because I knew I was innocent. We had a misunderstanding with my ex-wife and she left the girl under my care. One day, I was shocked when cops stormed my house claiming the girl had reported that I had raped her.
“I was dumbfounded. I was taken to Manyani Prison where life was hell,” he recalls, adding, “ the case was rushed. The girl gave her testimony in court and I knew it was a hard nut to crack. I was sentenced to 20 years. With no much help, I resigned to fate.”
After serving eight months in Manyani Prison, he was later transferred to Kamiti Main Prison to complete his sentence.
“I didn’t have a choice. Life was hard but I decided to stay focused. I pursued a degree in Theology and I used to preach to my fellow inmates. At least, that gave me so much joy,” he said.
“In prison, there is a law school, the teachers are lawyers who are inmates. They dedicate their time helping others to appeal their cases. They are the source of hope for those who want to appeal but have no financial muscle to hire a lawyer,” he added.
For almost two years, his family fought for his innocence, but it proved difficult.
“I almost gave up when my first lawyer dropped the case and disappeared with my money, but I thank God we successfully lodged the appeal against the sentence and now I am a free man. The medical examination showed that I had not defiled the child as it had been reported,” said Kithinji.
Kithinji says that he is happy that he was found innocent and justice was finally served.
“I was a painter before I was jailed. I heard that my ex-wife remarried but she has my son. I have forgiven her. I don’t want to hold grudges. Life is too short. I want to work hard; I don’t mind starting from scratch so that I can provide for my son.
“I will look for him when I get my feet on the ground. I love my son very much and I don’t plan to marry soon. I need sometime alone to rebuild my life,” says Kithinji.
He is grateful that some of his church members supported him .
“I was staying at my brother’s place, but I have now rented a single room near Ruiru town and I know God will bless me,” he said.