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Robbery with violence: Man's sentence reduced to 30 years after appeal

Samuel Cheserek had been sentenced to death in August 2001 before his sentence was commuted to life in prison. [iStockphoto]

A man serving a life sentence for robbery with violence has had his prison term reduced to 30 years.

Samuel Cheserek had been sentenced to death in August 2001 before his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

He was arrested and put on remand on August 24, 1999, and has been in prison since then.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi of the High Court in Eldoret stated in his ruling that there was a need to grant him a second chance in life.

“I am persuaded that as much as there is need for a deterrent sentence, a reformed accused person should be given a second chance at life to redeem themselves and live a purposeful life,” the judge stated.

“I hereby set aside the life sentence imposed on the petitioner through commutation by the president and substitute it with a prison term of 30 years with effect from August 24, 1999. This condition on commencement takes into account Section 333(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” ruled the judge.

Cheserek had appealed his sentence twice at the High Court and Court of Appeal, but his appeals had been dismissed and his sentence upheld.

In November last year, he filed a petition at the High Court seeking re-sentencing. He said he had been rehabilitated in prison, and asked for a non-custodial sentence.

In his petition, Cheserek had urged the court to consider the 24 years he had been in jail.

The probation report tabled in court showed that the community was ready to welcome him back.

The court heard that Cheserek, who was 24 years at the time he committed the offence, was remorseful and attributed his action to peer pressure.

His court documents showed that he had undergone rehabilitation, was reformed and if given a second chance, he could be a productive member of society.

The judge said the victim of the robbery with violence had died, noting that ‘the court should not turn a blind eye on that position.’

"One of the prime objectives of criminal law is the imposition of sentences commensurate with the nature and gravity of the crime," said the judge.