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Refusal to testify lands witness to robbery in jail
5:10pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Oxford
A KEY witness in a robbery and fraud case was jailed for six weeks after refusing to give evidence.
Bernard Muiruri, 21, of Banbury Road, Oxford, told police he had seen someone steal a credit card then use it at a cash machine. But he then refused to attend the trial of the two men accused of carrying out the crime.
The kitchen porter gave police a detailed statement but later said he had been drunk and it was untrue.
However, he was summoned to appear at Oxford Crown Court as the key witness in the case against George Njoroge and Tedd Habyarimana. Both were acquitted of robbery and two counts of fraud following the trial in May.
Anthony McGeorge, prosecuting, said that Muiruri’s evidence had been of significant importance.
At Oxford Crown Court on Friday, Muiruri admitted a charge of contempt of court and failing to attend court as a witness.
Nikki Duncan, defending, said: “He says he gave the statement to police while under the influence and based on hearsay.
“It is clear from his statement he was threatened by the defendants and he was worried about reprisals.”
Jailing Muiruri, Judge Patrick Eccles told him: “You deliberately failed to answer a summons to attend court.
“Who knows if the accused would have been acquitted if you had given evidence.”