Kiambu High court has jailed a 30 year old man for 20 years after he was found him guilty of killing his cousin whose body was discovered after a fight.
Lady Justice Mary Kasango said in her Judgement that the prosecution’s 10 witnesses had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused murdered the deceased who reportedly later succumbed to stab wounds inflicted during the fight.
Gabriel Mari Gakoi had been charged that on 25th November 2017 at Gaichege village, Ituru sub-location, Gatundu South of Kiambu County, he murdered Antony Njoroge Gitau contrary to section 203 as read with 204 of the criminal procedure code.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges but ten prosecution witnesses testified to the contrary before the court ruled that he had a case to answer. The accused was represented by Ms Aniline Valsa Sebastian on pro borno.
The court heard that the accused and the deceased were on the material day involved in a fight which began at 7.00p.m.A brother to the deceased reportedly intervened to separate the two but later left for them to resume their fighting.
The court also heard that another member of the extended family Margaret Wanjiru Mutogoni saw them fighting in her compound before her husband dispersed them.
Later the same night at around at 8.00p.m Patrick Muchuku Kiarie during cross examination said while on his way to Gaichege he noticed a person lying on the ground. On lighting his torch, he recognized the deceased who appeared to have bled to death from the stab wounds.
The post mortem report produced in court indicated that the deceased died of a stab wound which led to him suffering collapse of the lung.
In the court’s view, the fight was a continuous transaction with the accused being the last person seen in the company of the deceased. The court concluded that the deceased was killed by Gabriel, and thereby proceeded to convict him of murder.
According to a pre-sentencing report, he was an unmarried 30 year old who had been abusing alcohol and bhang. He had been taken for rehabilitation for 9 months but relapsed afew years later. On the part of the deceased’s family, they were extremely bitter over the death of their kin which they associated to family’s feud over land. “The deceased’s mother cried throughout during the time she was being interviewed by the probation officer” noted Justice Kasango.
In his defense, the accused elected to make a sworn statement in which he stated that he lived in Juja and that he traveled to Gatundu on the material day to visit his mother, arriving at 3.30pm.He went to a club where he met the deceased who was in the company of his friends and that they were drinking alcohol. He joined them and that when he eventually decided to leave, the deceased joined him and they boarded a bodaboda motorcycle to Gaithece village.
On reaching the village, the accused did not have loose change to pay his 50 shillings and the deceased paid both for his and the accused’s fare. After the duo walked homeward, the deceased demanded instant refund of 50 shillings and soon a fight broke out between them.PW5 stopped by and separated them and that he went home and later he decided to visit his uncle only for the deceased to follow him there and attack him. His uncle intervened and that he traveled to Juja only for him to learn the following day that the deceased had passed on.
In her Judgement, the Judge regretted that the accused did not admit to having committed the offence in which his cousin lost his life, and that he alleged that someone else did it “He is therefore not remorseful. Notably, he ran away to his sister’s house in Juja area on the night after committing the offence and this led the trial court finding that it was indicative of guilt” she stated.
She added that taking into consideration the evidence adduced in court and considering the need for the court to denunciate and deter the commission of criminal offence and also considering the need for the accused to be rehabilitated, she was of the view that the appropriate sentence was 20 years. It will cover the period he had been in custody pending trial. He was given 14 days to launch his appeal if he so wished.
The case was heard by Lady Justice Christine Meoli and upon her transfer to Nairobi in November 2020, it was taken over by the sitting Judge who delivered the Judgement.
By Lydia shiloya