Man's 50-year jail term quashed after successful appeal

Nyeri Principal Magistrate Mathias Okuche convicted Joseph Kihara after finding him guilty. [iStockphoto]

A 59-year-old man who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for defilement has been set free after the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction.

Joseph Kihara successfully challenged his conviction in a case where he was accused of defiling a 10-year-old girl.

Nyeri Principal Magistrate Mathias Okuche convicted Kihara after finding him guilty.

He had been accused of committing the act between January and July 2018 at Kangemi village.

In his appeal, Kihara said the trial court failed to notice the case was fabricated.

“The trial court imposed a 50-year sentence, which is excessive considering my age, which is 59 years. It means I would be released at the age of 109,” the appellant argued.

Court of Appeal Judge Justice Kizito Murage, while delivering the judgment virtually in Mombasa, noted that the duty court had the advantage of observing the demeanor of witnesses and hearing their evidence first-hand.

“The appellant was convicted based on circumstantial evidence having been identified by the minor. There is nothing other than the minor's allegation to tie the appellant to the offence, even circumstantial evidence does not show that the appellant was the perpetrator,” he said, adding:

"I therefore set aside the sentence and conviction and set the appellant free unless otherwise lawfully held.”