High Court upholds 15-year jail sentence for man who defiled his niece

The appellant was charged with attempted incest, found guilty and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on July 8, 2018. [Courtesy]

The High Court has upheld a 15-year jail sentence handed to a man who sexually molested his seven-year-old niece.

Justice Asenath Ongeri stated that the trial court was right in convicting the appellant for attempted incest.

"I also find that the sentence of 15 years imprisonment is lawful and I find no need to interfere with it. I find that his appeal lacks in merit and I accordingly dismiss the same and uphold both the conviction and sentence," ruled Justice Ongeri.

The appellant was charged with attempted incest contrary to Section 20 of the Sexual Offences Act No.3 of 2006 and he was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on July 8, 2018.

The particulars of the charge were that on November 14, 2017, in Bureti within Kericho County, the appellant defiled his seven-year-old niece 

The prosecution called six witnesses whose evidence corroborated what the complainant had testified.

She told that court that on a material day, the man called her and told her he wanted to send her to the shop but instead directed her to her grandmother’s kitchen which was also his bedroom and told her to sleep on his bed.

She further said the suspect removed her trousers and he did “tabia mbaya” (bad manners) to her. 

The grandmother of the child (PW.3), who is also the appellant's mother, found the complainant in the appellant’s bed and took her to hospital.

Before taking her to hospital, she called their local chief who arrested the appellant and took him to a police station. 

A clinical officer who examined the complainant at Roret Sub-County Hospital told the court that there was attempted defilement. He produced the treatment notes as exhibits.

The appellant, in his defence, said he was taking tea in kitchen with his brother (PW.2) when his mother (PW3) told him to pull down the kitchen.

The appellant said he told her he would not pull it down as it was the place their father had left for him.

He said their mother got angry and locked him in the house with PW2 and she went and called the chief who arrested him.

The trial court found the appellant guilty of attempted incest and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. 

The appellant appealed the sentence on grounds that he was not given adequate time to prepare for the trial.

He further submitted that he did not attempt to defile the minor but was framed by his mother after he failed to demolish a structure in the compound, contrary to his mother's wishes. 

The appellant submitted that the prosecution did not present crucial witnesses.

But in dismissing the appeal, Justice Ongeri said the High Court had found that there is evidence that the appellant attempted to defile the complainant.

"The testimony of the complainant was corroborated by that of the clinical officer who confirmed attempted defilement and produced the treatment notes as exhibits," she said.

The judge added that there is evidence that the appellant was found by his mother in the kitchen with the complainant.

"The defence by the appellant is a mere denial," said Justice Ongeri.