A man who had appealed his 10-year conviction for incest got a rude shock after the High Court slapped him with life imprisonment.
SK had been handed a 10-year jail term after he was found guilty of defiling his nine-year-old niece on January 30, 2014 at Chanda village in Vihiga.
He had, on an alternative count, been charged with committing an indecent act with the minor.
High Court Judge William Musyoka noted that SK had initially been charged with defilement before the prosecution amended the charge to incest, which attracts a lesser sentence.
Jutice Musyoka affirmed that incest with a minor was by itself a defilement and as such a stiffer penalty should apply.
The girl’s grandmother had told the court she had left the girl alone and went to a nearby shopping centre to sell tea leaves when SK, who used to live in the same homestead, sneaked in.
He then stripped the girl naked and defiled her. Out of the pain, the girl screamed, attracting the attention of her aunt, who was nearby.
In the act
The aunt went to the house but found the door locked. Upon peeping through the window, she saw the accused in the act and raised the alarm. The matter was reported to the area village elder and then to the police, leading to the man’s arrest and arraignment.
Medical tests confirmed that the girl had been defiled.
The then Vihiga Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Mmase handed SK a 10-year jail term. Dissatisfied with the sentence, he lodged an appeal, arguing that the evidence on record was invalid and marred with contradictions.
But Justice Musyoka, while observing that the offence of incest provided a sentence of 10 years in jail, ruled that SK should have been charged with defilement, which attracted a minimum of life in jail.
“The facts and the evidence produced in court disclosed defilement. The State had properly charged the appellant with defilement of a minor of nine years. One would wonder what would inform the substitution of a more serious charge with a fairly minor charge,” said Justice Musyoka.
He upheld the conviction but set aside the lesser penalty and substituted it with life
“Upon conviction the appellant ought to have been sentenced to life in jail. However, all is not lost. Whereas the offence amounted to incest, it was also defilement. The penalty available for (defilement of) a minor of nine years is life imprisonment,” Musyoka said.
SK was granted 14 days to appeal if aggrieved with the new sentence.
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