Minor convicted, placed on probation for 6 months for manslaughter
Kiambu High court has placed a 17 year old girl to 6 months’ probation after she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter, following a fight in which her husband succumbed to injuries.
Justice Joel Ngugi while delivering the judgement said he found it wise to give the minor who has a daughter slightly aged more than one year old a non-custodial sentence at the Siaya Hostel so that she could heal and forget the traumatizing incident.
The minor had committed the offence when she was barely 16 years, a fact that the court took into consideration that she was too young to discern the correct decision before she found herself in the quagmire of involvement while defending herself from a habitually violent husband.
Justice Ngugi reckoned in his Judgement that the accused had clearly gone through trauma and according to the probation report by Kepha On’gera, she may have anger management issues which she should be assisted to deal with through the court.
“It is also important that she goes through counselling and probably a good idea to remove her from the social milieu that produced her circumstances” said Justice Ngugi while agreeing with the recommendation of the probation sentence at Siaya Probation hostel for intensive counselling on trauma and anger management
“While there, she will also learn about life skills and vocational training” the Judge said. “Just get out of Kiandutu for a while so that you have time to go over what happened. Go and even be a local tourist while on probation” Ngugi noted as the accused agreed to his suggestion.
The girl was first arraigned on 30th January 2017, charged with the offence of murder contrary to section 203 as read together with 204 of the penal code. Clutching an infant in her arms, she was accused of killing Hassan Wanyoike Njeri on 22ND January 2017 in Kiandutu slums, Thika Sub-county of Kiambu County.
The minor’s mother sat in court crying silently and the court summoned a children’s officer to interview her after a lawyer was assigned to her prior to plea taking. It turned out that the victim of the alleged homicide was the minor’s husband who was clearly an adult.
She was however remanded at the Kiambu remand home but unfortunately her case dragged for too long.Even earlier before the hearing, the prosecuting senior state counsel Ms. Jane Maari informed the court that she was consulting with her seniors with a view of withdrawing the case or entering into a plea bargain agreement which she did on 8th February 2018.She entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter contrary to section 202 as read with section 205 of the penal code.
As a result of the pre-sentencing report and victim impact assessment statements, the victim’s family elected not to participate in the case.
Facts of the case are as follows, on the material day at around 10.00a.m, the deceased had a quarrel with his wife who is the accused and when he became violent, she took her baby and left to her mother’s house within Kiandutu estate.
The court heard that later at about 9.30p.m, the deceased while drunk followed the accused to her mother’s home and started demanding they return to his home. The mother to the accused managed to prevail upon him and return the following day when he was sober for them to discuss and resolve whatever problem they had and he obliged.
The deceased again went back at 10.30 pm while still in a drunken stupor and started demanding for the house to be opened so he could take his child with him. Efforts by the mother-in-law to convince him to leave and return the following morning fell on deaf ears. He instead climbed the fence and dropped into the mother-in-law’s compound.
While there, he broke the door to the house and started beating the accused and her mother while trying to take the baby by force. He then picked a kitchen knife and threatened to kill the accused or her baby if he was not given the baby.
He attempted to stab the accused and was disarmed but he did not give up but instead ran to the kitchen and picked another knife which he attempted to stab the accused and her baby and while defending herself. In the process, the duo struggled for the knife and during the commotion, she accidentally stabbed on his ribs.
He was then rushed to Thika Level 5 where he was denied admission. He later received first aid at Dr.Wachira’s health centre and was later referred to St. Mulumba’s hospital where he succumbed to the injury.
The prosecutor Mr. Henry Kinyanjui requested the court to consider a non-custodial sentence and informed the court that the accused was a first offender.
Mr. Joseph Wakaba for the accused reminded the court that the accused was a minor and merely 16 years by the time the offence was committed. He said she also has a child who was less than 2 years and needed care, preferably from the mother. He added that the grandmother had been incapacitated by the sexual assault she suffered as part of the transaction that led to the present charges.
He summed up his mitigation saying that the court should empathize with the old lady who was raped by the allies of her son-in law as they guarded her not to smuggle the child away from the parents as they fought. They also stole everything from her house and left her a pauper.
Justice Ngugi wished the minor well as she prepared to be escorted to Siaya hostel in Nyanza region and advised that she takes some vocational training that will be of help to her so that she can eke a livelihood for herself, mother and her child who kept crying in the court whenever she spotted her.
By Lydia Shiroya