Court frees Kenyan man who dodged child’s unpaid bill

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Mr Benson Murage tried to smuggle his one-month-old baby from Kenyatta National Hospital using the bag pictured above. The desperate father was on February 19, 2019 spared jail after the court handed him a suspended sentence. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A 22-year-old Kenyan man who pleaded guilty to smuggling a baby out of a local hospital has been freed on a three-month suspended sentence by Nairobi Senior Resident Magistrate Muthoni Nzibe.

Mr. Benson Murage says he tried to sneak out the hospital with his child in order to avoid paying the KSH 56,000 ($560) hospital bill. A bill Murage said he simply couldn’t afford.

The suspended sentence now mean the 22-year-old man will only see the inside of a prison cell should he commit a crime within those three months.

“The matter has caused a lot of public interest on social media. However, the scales of justice must balance. In this case, the hospital has already been paid and so the scales tilt to the accused person,” the magistrate said.

According to his lawyer Charles Madowo, the bill had been cleared by the Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi alias Sonko and said that Murage was very remorseful.

The lawyer said the only offence Murage committed is being poor.

It was a story that elicited mixed reactions online, with many expressing empathy with Murage.

The county press office also said the governor offered Mr. Murage a job.