A Mombasa magistrate on Tuesday went out of his way to save a 19-year-old Kenyan woman from going to jail.
Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Odhiambo organized an impromptu fundraiser to help the woman, who had been charged with shoplifting.
The funds raised would help the accused person identified as Karyn Chelagat to pay for two hair weaves worth Sh1,140 she had stolen from a Mtwapa-based supermarket on July 21st.
Magistrate Odhiambo asked court attendees to voluntarily contribute at least Sh100 to go towards compensating the supermarket.
This came after Ms. Chelagat pleaded guilty to a shoplifting charge. The accused said she envied women who sported good-looking weaves, but she could not afford the synthetic hair due to financial problems.
“I wanted to look beautiful like other women. So, I went to the supermarket, looked around and saw the weaves that my friends often wear. Upon looking at the price tag, I was heartbroken that I couldn’t afford the two pieces. Left with no other choice, I stole the products,” Chelagat told the court.
“I was raised in poverty. When I came to town, I would see women sporting good hair and wearing quality make-up. I have tried to look as beautiful as my friends, but lack of money makes that impossible,” Chelagat added.
William Bosire, a lawyer, gave out Sh2,000 to rescue the woman from serving a 2-year jail term or paying a fine of Sh50,000.
Later, Magistrate Odhiambo asked the Investigating Officer to return the stolen weaves to the supermarket, and Bosire’s money is given to the accused “to buy a weave and food to eat.”