Tea vendor handed 10 years in jail for killing man who poured out his tea

The court ruled that the deceased would have been saved if Kariuki had acted or alerted someone. [Courtesy]
A tea vendor was last week sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment by a Nakuru court for killing a man who poured out tea from his kettle.

James Kariuki was convicted of the offence of manslaughter after he was found guilty of killing Saidimu Lenailepu.

The Court, however, found that the evidence presented did not disclose the element of malice before the killing and convicted him of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

High Court Judge Joel Ngugi shows that the deceased (Lenailepu) provoked Kariuki by pouring out the tea he was selling from a kettle.

Kariuki was in the business of selling the tea before being provoked by the deceased and the two started fighting.

In the ruling, the court note as per evidence presented, a physical duel ensued in which the deceased ended up with worse injuries.

After a few hours, Lenailepu was found lying in a ditch badly injured near Polo Centre before succumbing to his injuries.

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Kariuki through his lawyer said he was provoked by the deceased and that the provocation was continuous and not a singular event.

He pointed out that as a result of the many provocations it would have been difficult for any person to control their anger and use of force.  He also asked the court to consider that he has been in custody since 2014.

State Counsel Amos Chigiti said though Kariuki was a first offender, he attacked the deceased with extreme force and used a weapon to inflict injuries on the deceased. He also said the accused was in the company of two other people at the time of the incident.

Justice Ngugi in his ruling said Kariuki had not taken action to save the man.

“I have considered that the accused person used a weapon and that he was in the company of two others as they beat up the deceased as an aggravating circumstance.  So, too, is the accused person’s post-offence conduct: he left the deceased badly injured in a ditch where he was only rescued the following morning,” read the ruling in part.

The court ruled that the deceased would have been saved if Kariuki had acted or alerted someone.

Despite being a first time offender, and did not plan the attack, Kariuki could have tried to help or alert someone to help Lenailepu after the fight.

“Consequently, in my view, a fit sentence that properly balances the mitigating circumstances with the aggravating circumstances is a sentence of ten (10) years imprisonment. Since the accused person has been in custody since his date of arraignment, the term of imprisonment shall be computed starting on that day, August 27, 2014,” ruled the court.

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Tea vendorJoel NgugiPolo CentreNakuru courtManslaughter