Baby Sagini suspect handed 40 years in jail

While sentencing the three, Kisii Resident Magistrate Christine Ongweno said the second and third accused were aiders in the offence. "This was a life-changing event, not only for the family but also for the community. This is not a fact that can be wished away. He will never see because of the actions of the three."

The magistrate said such an incident has not been heard of. "There are aggravating circumstances arising from this matter, the minor is not only blind, but he is missing both his eyes."

The magistrate said the sentencing will allow for rehabilitation, act as a deterrence to such actions and protect the community and family from offenders. "This will not only help Baby Sagini but also any other child being brought up under such circumstances. There is a need for deterrence," said the magistrate

During the case, it was alleged that between December 13, 2022, and December 14, 2022, at Ikuruma Location, Marani Sub County, the three accused jointly unlawfully did grievous harm to Baby Sagini by gouging out his eyes.

The three accused were subsequently arrested and arraigned on December 23, 2022, where they were charged with an offence of causing grievous harm to the toddler contrary to section 234 of the Penal Code.

Baby Sagini was found lying within the homestead on the afternoon of December 14, 2022, with his eyes gouged out. Counsel for the prosecution Hillary Kaino in his submission before the sentencing called on the magistrate to pass a sentence that will commiserate the gravity of the offence.

"The sentence should be grounded on the suspects getting what they deserve. Let us punish the offence and deter such future happenings. A message should be passed back to the community on what awaits such offences." He submitted that the suspects had abused the responsibility they had been given. "They instead became key tormentors in the gouging of Baby Sagini's eyes."

Baby Sagini was born to Maureen Nyaboke Matunda. The minor is the brother of a female minor aged six.

Maureen was married to Thomas Ongaga who is not the biological father of the two minors. Maureen and Thomas have no biological children of their own.

The two met in 2015 but separated on June 30, 2016. They were reunited in 2019 after Maureen had the two children from a different relationship. Maureen was working in Nakuru as a shop attendant and decided to move there leaving her children under the care of Rael.

In her ruling last week, Ongweno said: "This was a case marred with several challenges. The victim was of tender years. The victim was rendered blind in the course of the commission of the offence. This was an offence that was committed within a family set up and in a family homestead."

In the magistrate's words, the three accused stuffed the boy inside a gunny bag and put him under a bed, in a dirty and poorly ventilated room where he possibly spent the night, probably presumed dead, while the owner of the house fled, knowing fully the seriousness of the carnage she left behind.

Later the next day, he was dumped next to his cousin's house within the homestead only to be found with his clothes torn, his face bloodstained and his eyes missing.

Daniel Nyameino, a senior clinician at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital told the court that Baby Sagini's eyes were sunken, the eyelids dark. He opined that the injuries were not occasioned on the child by one person based on their nature. "The eyes were removed and not crushed." Marani Criminal Investigations Officer Evans Wesonga told the court that he encountered difficulties in recording witness statements because of the community's perception of the family.