A Nairobi court has acquitted controversial Kenyan televangelist, Bishop Gilbert Juma Deya, of child-trafficking charges due to insufficient evidence.
Bishop Deya, who claimed he created miraculous pregnancies, was freed Monday, July 17 after the prosecution failed to prove that he stole five children two decades ago.
Milimani senior principal magistrate Robison Ondieki ruled that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Deya. The Magistrate noted that none of the five children were found in Deya’s custody.
The court observed that the evidence failed to establish the burden of proof against the accused, as none of the presented evidence indicated the accused’s presence at the location where the subjects were found.
According to the court, the strength of suspicion alone cannot render someone guilty.
“The prosecution having failed to establish circumstantial evidence, I acquit the accused under section 250 of the CPC,” the magistrate ruled.
Deya had been accused of handing the five children, all aged under 14, to women struggling to conceive.
The preacher, speaking outside the court as his supporters cheered him on, said he has forgiven his persecutors. He mentioned that he is going back to the UK to continue with his ministry.
“Today I’m acquitted of this kind of burden, a yoke on my shoulder… it has damaged my reputation,” Deya said, adding that it was “sad that I have been labelled as a child stealer”.
“I’m grateful that I’m free. I’m now going to continue to proceed to the mission that Jesus gave to me on earth.”
Bishop Deya added: “I have been in court for seven years. In the UK, I was having cases in 2004 and was already put in a special institution and under curfew.”
“But I’m grateful that the case has ended and my ministry in Kenya can continue. In the UK, trust me you will see me very soon. Thank you to my supporters also. Gilbert Deya is a free man.”