Watchman who defiled eight-year-old has his day in court

On May 3, 2009 at about 7.00a.m., eight-year-old Rehema* (not her real name) left her home in Kilifi County to pick wild fruits known as kunazi in the neighbourhood.

She came back two hours later and sat down to eat but appeared unable to. When she rose up, her elder sister and sister-in-law noticed a patch of blood where she had been sitting.

Upon inquiry, Rehema informed them that she had been defiled by Jilo Akare, a watchman employed by their next door neighbour, who she said intercepted her on her way home and invited her to his house on the pretext of wanting to send her to the shop.

He then locked the door, tied a cloth around a mouth and defiled her.

“When he was done, he threw me out of the house and sternly warned me not to tell anyone,” she said.

The case was reported at Kilifi Police Station and Rehema was rushed to Kilifi District Hospital where she was admitted for emergency surgery and post rape care.

Akare was arrested the next day and arraigned in court to answer to charges of defilement and committing an indecent act with a child. He denied the first charge but pleaded guilty to the second.

After all five prosecution witnesses had testified, the trial court convicted and sentenced Akare to life imprisonment on August 23, 2011.

His first appeal at the High Court in Malindi was found lacking in merit and dismissed on June 4, 2013, prompting him to move to the Court of Appeal in Mombasa.

In his grounds of appeal, Akare alleged he was falsely convicted and that Rehema was allowed to testify without being sworn.

He also said the lower court disregarded the fact that the blood-stained clothes allegedly worn by Rehema were never examined to confirm whether the blood was hers.

“Rehema’s mother fabricated this case against me so as to avoid paying the money she owes me.

The fact that the complainant, her sister and sister-in-law are from the same house and are related is further proof this case is cooked up,” he told appellate judges Milton Makhandia, William Ouko, and Kathurima M’inoti.

The judges said they were satisfied that the blood on Rehema’s garments was hers.

They also defended the trial court’s decision to have Rehema testify without being sworn since she did not understand the meaning of an oath.

“We have come to the inevitable conclusion that the case against the appellant was proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Accordingly, this appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” they ruled.