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Judicial CP - January 1960

Corpun file 0352 at


East African Standard, Nairobi, 7 January 1960

Boys to be caned for gang thefts

Masters should be stronger, says magistrate

A Nairobi magistrate said yesterday that he felt that if some headmasters had been stronger a gang of European boys involved in stealing, shopbreaking and receiving might never have got together or would have been under control much quicker.

Brig. R.B. Lambe was ordering one of the boys, aged 15, to spend a year on probation for receiving five packets of cigarettes stolen by three other boys from a hotel kiosk. The boy's father was ordered to find surety of £20 and to pay 5/- damages.

The boy was formerly a pupil at Delamere High School. The magistrate gave permission for the schools to be named when he ordered another 15-year-old boy, who formerly attended Prince of Wales School, to be given a total of 16 strokes with a light cane for stealing a motor-scooter and shopbreaking.

Brig. Lambe said he thought the names of the schools should be made know because accusations had been "flung from one school to another". It was only fair that the actual schools involved should be made known so that parents of other boys could be careful.

The same boy was dismissed on a complaint of receiving £5 which was part of £40 stolen in a wallet from a changing room at the Oceanic Hotel, Mombasa. The boy's father was ordered to pay £2. 12s. 50c. damages for the scooter offence and £5 compensation on the receiving complaint. His mother was ordered to pay a fine of £5 on the boy's behalf for the shopbreaking.

Another boy, not involved in the shopbreaking, who received a stolen razor from the others, was placed on probation for a year. His father was ordered to find surety of £40. This boy was said to be attending the Prince of Wales School.

A 15-year-old boy who admitted stealing, with another boy, a wallet containing £30 from a jacket in a changing room at the Oceanic Hotel, Mombasa, was ordered to be given 10 strokes with a light cane. His father was told to pay £15 damages.

£46 damages

The same boy was placed on probation for a year and his father ordered to pay another £46 damages for the theft of a motor-scooter. He was discharged on a count of receiving a stolen bottle of perfume.

An 18-year-old boy who is due to start his service with the Kenya Regt. and who attended the Prince of Wales School was placed on probation for a year for breaking into a store. His father is to find surety of £40.

Another boy of 17 who appeared with him for the same offence was put on probation for two years. His father was told to find surety of £40.

"A menace"

A Prince of Wales schoolboy, described as the leader of the gang, was told by the magistrate that he was a "menace to the boys of Nairobi".

Brig. Lambe said it would do no good sending him to an approved school. He could see no other course but to send him to prison for 15 months with a strong recommendation that he be transferred to a Borstal in Britain.

The boy's father pleaded with the magistrate to reconsider his sentence. He said the boy had a chance for a reasonable future. He had tried to make him a reasonable citizen, and sending him to prison would only make him a bad one.

"My job and everybody's job is to make him good. He has said he had fallen into this trouble and he does not know how", he said.

The boy admitted stealing three motor-scooters, two charges of breaking and entering in Nairobi and one charge of stealing a wallet containing £30 in Mombasa.

Sentence deferred

After the father's plea, the magistrate decided to cancel the sentence of 15 months and deferred sentence until today.

He said: "He is a menace to the boys of Nairobi and I cannot allow him to return to the Prince of Wales School in any circumstances."

A probation report on one boy said that the headmaster of the school was willing to allow him to return.

Three other boys admitted stealing two motor-scooters, breaking into a kiosk at an hotel and stealing cigarettes, chocolates and sweets, and another charge of assault and attempted robbery.

The prosecutor, Chief Insp. J.A. Becker, said the last offence was committed on the evening of December 6.

Two of them conspired to break into premises near King George VI Hospital and took the third one along.

They needed a vehicle and it was decided that two of them order a taxi and take it to St Austin's Road, where the third boy was to go on a stolen scooter.

The taxi was hired, with an African driver. They went to St Austin's Road, where they knew the other boy would be waiting. Both sat in the back of the car, one of them armed with a rolling pin.

When they saw the third boy one of the boys in the car dropped his hat out of a window and asked the driver to stop.

Rolling pin used

He did so and the boy went to retrieve his hat. The boy on the scooter drove up to the taxi, whereupon the boy with the hat took it over and sat on the seat. The other, who was still in the taxi, hit the driver over the head with the rolling pin, causing a wound which had to be stitched.

The driver scrambled from the car and ran to Loreto Convent, where he dialled 999.

The boy who had taken over the scooter drove off while the others tried to start the taxi. They failed to do so and made off on foot.

"This was a most vicious and brutal attack on this taxi driver, who in all his innocence was taking two young Europeans on a journey," the prosecutor said.

"Had it not been that he scrambled out of the taxi it is possible that these boys might have been faced with a much more serious crime."

Father overseas

She asked the magistrate to take a serious view of the case.

On behalf of one of the boys, it was stated that his parents were separated and his father had gone to England after these charges had been made. He was often drinking and had constantly told the boy and his brother to "be a man".

The boy was to have gone to England with his father a week ago, and at the time his father said "Come with me and do not go to court", knowing that the boy had been charged.

Brig. Lambe remanded the boys in custody until Friday for sentence.

Corpun file 0351 at


East African Standard, Nairobi, 9 January 1960

Nairobi court sentence

Schoolboys to get 12 strokes for violence

Two Nairobi boys were ordered yesterday to be given 12 strokes each and detained in a remand home for 28 days when they appeared before a Nairobi magistrate for sentence for attempted robbery with violence.

The boys were Simon Hoaran, 16, and Arthur Sutton, 17. The magistrate, Brig. R.B. Lambe, said that it was only fair that their names should be published as a warning to parents of other children.

The magistrate told Hoaran the law did not normally allow him to order a boy of 16 to be caned but as he was involved in a crime of violence he could be treated as an adult and as such could be given corporal punishment.

He took into consideration that he had been in remand for two weeks.

Damages order

"I do not want to send you to prison. There is no Borstal in this country and there is not a detention centre. This, however, would be very good for you. An approved school would be useless for a boy of your intelligence and academic gifts.

"The approved school in Kenya would be completely useless and would amount, in your case, to sending you to three years of sheer imprisonment and boredom," the magistrate commented.

Hoaran was also placed on probation for three years, and his mother was ordered to pay total damages of about £90 over three years.

Hoaran admitted stealing four motor-scooters, breaking into the Salisbury Hotel, stealing a wallet containing £40 from a Mombasa hotel and a charge of attempted robbery with violence.

Hard working

His father seemed to have been a "bad character". He treated his wife like a dog and it was only on account of the children that he stayed with them over the years, Brig. Lambe said.

The mother was a hard-working woman and as she was out at work could not control her son, Brig. Lambe stated. She did not condone the boy in any way but thought he had been taught a lesson.

The magistrate added that, although he agreed that the temptation had been great for Hoaran, he thought he was even more prominent than the boy Nicholson, whom he had wrongly described as the gang leader.

He had boasted to Nicholson of his achievements, with the result that Nicholson had tried to outdo him.

Gave party

Brig. Lambe agreed with the report made by the headmaster of the Prince of Wales School that the root of the trouble was the boy's split home. The headmaster had said that Hoaran "had guts" and was a good worker.

To the boy, Brig. Lambe said he had boasted to "get up with the other". He gave a dinner party at Mombasa with the money he stole there.

He and Nicholson were rivals in the gang. Nicholson was a well-brought-up boy and had good parents.

Nicholson was also said to have been a good boy at school. Much the same could be said about Hoaran, but Brig. Lambe did not think he had such a good background, nor such good parents.

When Brig. Lambe ordered him to be given 12 strokes, the boy's mother broke down. She was reassured that the boy would be medically examined before the punishment was given.

An advocate representing Hoaran said it was "something like a headmaster's cane".

To this Brig. Lambe replied, "Yes, but a bit more severe".

As well as the attempted robbery with violence, Sutton admitted also stealing a motor scooter and receiving stolen money. He was also placed on three years' probation.

Sutton told the court he had stayed at Hoaran's house after his own parents went on leave to England. It was Hoaran's idea to steal a taxi.

Hoaran produced also the rolling pin which another boy used to hit the taxi driver. Sutton alleged Hoaran had suggested to him that he should do the hitting but he refused.

The other boy was keen on sport and did a lot of boxing. Hoaran suggested that this other boy should do the "strong-arm stuff", Sutton said.

Brig. Lambe said Sutton attended the Duke of York School but he did not have a good report from there and the headmaster was not allowing him to return.

Just as involved

The magistrate did not altogether believe Sutton's story about his part in the attempted robbery. He did not seem capable of giving a straight answer to anything.

He was just as much involved in the offence as Hoaran.

The third boy involved, who was aged 16 and a pupil at Delamere High School, admitted hitting the taxi driver with the rolling pin.

On his behalf, it was stated that Hoaran and Sutton had persuaded his father to allow him to go with them by telling a false story.

The boy said he did not know what was actually to take place and he thought that he was to hit someone with his fists. He said: "I know Sutton always carries a knife and I thought if I did not hit the driver I might get beaten up."

Led astray

Passing sentence of two years' probation on the third boy, the magistrate said he had nothing to do with the gang of boys who had been committing the offences all over Nairobi and had definitely been led astray by Hoaran and Sutton. But the fact was that he was led along by the desire for money.

"He is not actually a danger to society. He is a good sporting boy, but he has got to realise that he is not allowed to be used as a hired thug any longer."

The boy's father said he was willing to pay £10 compensation to the African driver who was struck and injured by the boy.

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