A case where a man was charged with multiple sexual offences and jailed for 20 years instead of a single charge will be revisited after a high court order.
The High Court in Bungoma ruled that AE who was charged with defilement and incest on his 13-year-old step-daughter should have been charged with either and not both charges as the latter caused confusion and cut in on his right to free trial.
“The purpose for an accused person’s knowing what charge he is facing is for him to understand why he is in court and to prepare well for his defense. Was the appellant supposed to prepare for his defence in respect of defilement or incest?” posed Justice Hedwig Ong’undi while allowing AE’s appeal.
“What was done in this case is referred to as multiplicity in a charge sheet. This arises from charging of a single criminal act or offense as multiple separate counts. The trial court should not have allowed that as it confused the appellant as to what offense he was actually responding to.”
On October 25 last year the Bungoma principal magistrate’s court found AE guilty of defiling his step daughter and sentenced him to twenty years after four witnesses including his wife and the mother of the child testified against him.
The particulars being that the appellant on diverse dates between March 2 and March 5, 2021 in Kimilili sub-county within Bungoma County he committed the two offenses against the said minor aged, 13.
He later on appealed citing 14 grounds saying among other things that after pleading not guilty, his charge sheet was amended multiple times making it hard for him to know what he was actually charged with.
He said that the trial court erred by ignoring the medical evidence showing that the girl was not been sexually violated.
He said the report by Patrick Koros, the clinical officer based at Kimilili sub county hospital who examined the minor and produced the P3 form and the treatment notes “showed that there was no indication of defilement”.
He also said the twenty years’ sentence on uncorroborated evidence against him was excessive and punitive.