Bishop Gilbert Deya, the controversial preacher at the centre of the “miracle babies” scandal, has been acquitted by the court after facing child theft charges for over two decades. The ruling has sparked mixed reactions and reignited discussions about faith and accountability.
The preacher stood accused of stealing five babies between 2002 and 2004, allegedly deceiving his followers that he possessed extraordinary powers to help infertile women conceive “miracle babies” in Kenya and Britain. The case drew international attention and finally reached its climax as Milimani senior principal magistrate Robison Ondieki delivered the judgment.
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After careful evaluation of the extensive evidence presented by the prosecution, including testimony from 26 witnesses and 64 exhibits, the magistrate ruled that the burden of proof against the accused was insufficient. The evidence failed to establish a direct connection between Bishop Gilbert Deya and the charges of child stealing.
In his ruling, Magistrate Ondieki stated, “After evaluating the evidence adduced by 26 prosecution witnesses, 64 exhibits and the defence of Mr Deya, I find no evidence linking the accused person to the charges of child stealing. I, therefore, acquit him under Section 210 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
The court concurred with Bishop Deya’s defence, emphasising that the prosecution failed to provide evidence proving that he had instructed anyone to keep the five children in his residence at Mountain View estate while he was abroad. The verdict has drawn support and criticism from various quarters, with some praising the judicial system for upholding the principle of innocent until proven guilty. In contrast, others express disappointment and concern about the justice delivered.
Speaking to the media after the ruling, Bishop Deya expressed relief and gratitude. He said he forgave those who accused him and unveiled his intention to return to the United Kingdom to resume his ministry. “I am grateful to the court for recognising my innocence. I have forgiven those who accused me unjustly, and now I intend to rebuild my life and continue my spiritual work,” Bishop Deya said, visibly relieved.
The “miracle babies” scandal first came to light in December 1998 when a woman whose fallopian tubes had been severed by doctors claimed to have given birth to a baby boy after Bishop Deya’s prayers.
Bishop Deya’s wife, Mary Deya, was arrested in November 2004 and charged with stealing babies. During the investigation, ten children found at the couple’s residence were determined to have no genetic connection to the Deyas. The police alleged that Bishop Deya had stolen five newborns from Pumwani Maternity Hospital between May 1999 and December 2004, presenting them to barren women who claimed to have miraculously given birth after the preacher performed his prayers.
The sentencing of Mary Deya in 2011 for stealing a child and giving false information further underscored the complexity of the case. Magistrate Grace Nzioka upheld medical evidence that proved Mary was not the baby’s biological mother, leading to her three-year prison term.
Doctors and investigators contested her claims, stating she was past menopause and biologically incapable of conceiving. Since then, the case has been shrouded in controversy and intrigue.
The acquittal of Bishop Gilbert Deya leaves many questions on the reach and impact of faith-based claims in society. While some see this as a vindication of innocence, others argue that justice has not been served for the victims. The case also serves as a stark reminder of the importance of thorough investigation and the need for critical thinking when confronted with extraordinary claims.
As Bishop Deya prepares to embark on a new chapter in his life, the fallout from the miracle babies scandal continues reverberating within the communities affected by his controversial ministry. Only time will tell how this chapter in Kenya’s history will ultimately be remembered and what it means for the ongoing discourse around faith, accountability, and justice.