Kenyan court reviews bail application for Somali pirates

19:19, May 17, 2010      

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A Kenyan court on Monday directed the provincial probation officer to present a report over six suspected Somali pirates, which will assist in determining whether they will be released on bond.

In a departure from the norm where suspects are always denied bail, Mombasa Chief Magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka's ruling came as a surprise to the court, as the accused had initially asked the court to "take them back to their arresters" for the charges to be preferred against them.

Mutoka directed that the officer prepares and presents a pre- bail report for each of the suspects and avail it in court within two weeks, for the matter to be determined.

The suspected pirates, who were arrested by the British Royal Marine three weeks ago, also lost a bid to have their case handled by a private prosecutor instead of the Attorney General's office. "Neither the prosecution nor the defense has given the court enough grounds over bail application and in my view, the probation department will best give the information through pre-bail reports, " had Mutoka ruled.

Initially, one of the suspects incensed the magistrate by seeking to be transferred, prompting her to ask the interpreter to inform the suspect that he will be charged with contempt of court and be jailed.

The magistrate directed that the defense, led by Jared Magolo, and the prosecution by Alexander Muteti, to avail any facts that might be needed in the probation report.

"As much as the prosecution says the suspects have no documentation to determine their nationality and place of abode, the temptation to abscond court is high considering the sentence this offence carries," the magistrate said.

The case will be mentioned on June 2 this year when the probation department issues the report while hearing of the same is set for July 14.

The suspects, who had initially refused to take plea, were charged that on April 9, upon the high seas, within the Gulf of Aden, jointly while armed with five AK47 Rifles and Rocket Propelled Grenades, attacked MV Nada and used actual violence against the crew.

The court heard that they endangered the lives of the crew by firing a rocket propelled grenade at the vessel and they later threw some weapons including skiffs, in the sea to erase any evidence.

Source: Xinhua


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