NAIROBI, KENYA – Geoffrey’s wife and two young daughters gathered around him, smiling and laughing. But Geoffrey showed little emotion, so stunned by the court’s decision. After a yearlong trial to clear his name for a crime he had not committed, the court delivered the verdict: Geoffrey was innocent.
IJM Kenya lawyer James Kironji met Geoffrey last year, after he had spent two nights in a police station jail cell. Geoffrey explained that he had been accused of forging documents, including a bad check. But Geoffrey hadn’t forged any documents. He worked on the side as a messenger to make a little extra money and had simply been provided the documents to deliver. “He was an innocent man used by people who he trusted,” said Kironji.
Geoffrey should have been treated as a witness in a case against those who sent him with the counterfeit documents, instead, he was arrested.
Although Geoffrey was released on bail, a trial against him began. IJM represented him in court, fighting to make known his obvious innocence and ensure this kind father could return to his peaceful life.
On July 31, 2012, the witnesses scheduled to testify against Geoffrey did not show up. Kironji asked that his case be dismissed altogether due to lack of evidence. The court agreed, and Geoffrey was acquitted.
Although stunned at first, it did not take long for reality to set in as a quiet smile crept across Geoffrey’s face.
“I am happy because I am free,” he said.