1.The accused herein, Musyoka Maingi Nguli, was charged before this court in this case with murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code the facts being that on 9th November, 1999 at Yanzonga Village, Machakos he murdered Lucia Mutio Wambua a charge which he denied. After hearing the evidence both for the prosecution and the defence, this Court (Mwera, J as he then was) found that the accused was guilty of the murder of the deceased, on the basis of the accused having been the last person to have been seen leaving with the deceased on the fateful night before the deceased as found dead. The deceased had a cracked skull and had been raped. The accused’s jacket was found nearby with the deceased’s underpants.
2.Upon his conviction, the accused was sentenced to death.
3.The accused however appealed to the Court of Appeal in Criminal Appeal No. 94 of 2006 and though his appeal on conviction was dismissed, the sentence was quashed on the ground that he was not afforded an opportunity of mitigating before the sentence was meted. The Court of Appeal therefore directed that the matter remitted to this Court for mitigation and sentencing. It was however directed that pending the same, the accused would remain in custody.
4.When the matter placed before me I directed that the pre-sentencing report be prepared and the same was duly prepared and filed. According to the said report, the accused, now aged 44 years old, has undergone training in carpentry and stated that the 25 years he has been in prison has taught him a lesson and prayed for leniency. The family of the victim was still bitter with the accused. Though the family of the victim had initiated some reconciliatory steps the same were turned down by the accused’s clan on the ground that they could not compensate the victim’s family as long as the accused remained on death row. However, with the turn of events, the accused’s clan has since change and is willing to reconcile though no steps had been taken in that direction.
5.According to the report, the accused is a maternal cousin to the deceased and the deceased’s family is not opposed to his sentence being revised though they lost trust in him and do not wish to have him back in their village which is approximately 20 kilometres from his village. They are however willing to reconcile with his family and to be compensated according to Kamba Traditions and Customs. The deceased’s family does not plan to revenge the death as long as the accused does not disturb them.
6.On the other hand, the accused’s family gave a positive report about him as a resourceful person and stated that he has his share of the land where he can settle and the family expressed willingness to assist him to settle down. The family also expressed willingness to reconcile with the deceased’s family and to compensate them through their clan as per the Kamba Traditions and Customs.
7.The local administration also returned a positive report about the accused and stated that he faced no threat and was not a threat to the community.
8.According to the Probation Officer, the offence was caused by lack of self-control and self-gratification.
9.There was also a report from Kamiti Maximum Prison which set out the courses which the accused had undertaken. It was stated that the accused had taken various course including carpentry and was deployed in the carpentry section since 2017 where he was making quality furniture and was well behaved with no disciplinary offence. There was also a positive report from Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, Kamiti which disclosed that the accused had been baptised and received confirmation and was a trained catechist who was also a choir member and alter server.
10.It is important to point out that a resentencing hearing or any other sentencing hearing for that matter is neither a hearing de novo nor an appeal. Such proceedings are undertaken on the understanding that conviction is not in issue. It therefore follows that in those proceedings the accused is not entitled to take up the issue of the propriety of his conviction. He must proceed on the understanding that the conviction was lawful and restrict himself to the sentence and address the court only on the principles guiding the imposition of sentence and on the appropriate sentence in the circumstances. Similarly, the court can only refer to the evidence adduced in so far as it is relevant to the issue of sentencing but not with a view to making a determination as to whether the conviction was proper. While the court is entitled to refer to the evidence in order to determine whether there existed aggravating circumstances or otherwise for the purposing of imposing the sentence, it is not proper for the court to set out to analyse the evidence as if it is meant to arrive at a decision on the guilt of the accused.
11.That the possibility of reform and social re-adaptation of the offender is to be considered in sentence re-hearing, in my view implies that where the accused has been in custody for a considerable period of time the Court ought to consider calling for a pre-sentencing report and possibly the victim impact report in order to inform itself as to whether the accused is fit for release back to the society. In my view, fairness to the accused where a sentence re-hearing is considered appropriate would require a consideration of the circumstances prior to the commission of the offence, at the time of the trial and subsequent to conviction. The conduct of the accused during the three stages may therefore be a factor to be considered in determining the appropriate sentence. The need to protect the society clearly requires the Court to consider the impact of the incarceration of the offender whether beneficial to him and the society or not, hence the necessity for considering a pre-sentencing report.
12.As appreciated by the Supreme Court in Muruatetu Case (supra):
13.In my view where the accused has spent a considerable period of time in custody, it may be prudent for the Court while conducting a sentence re-hearing, to direct that an inquiry be conducted by the probation officer and where necessary a pre-sentencing and victim impact statements be filed in order to enable it determine whether the accused has sufficiently reformed or has been adequately rehabilitated. This is so because the circumstances of the accused in custody may have changed either in his favour or otherwise in order to enable the Court to determine which sentence ought to be meted. It may be that the accused had sufficiently reformed to be released back to the society. It may well be that the conduct of the accused while in custody may have deteriorated to the extent that it would not be in the interest of the society to have him released since one of the objectives of sentencing is to protect the community by incapacitating the offender.
14.In Muruatetu Case, the Supreme Court relied on the case of Vinter and others vs. the United Kingdom (Applications nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) in which the Court held that:-
15.I must however state that the said reports being reports which are not subjected to cross-examination in order to determine their veracity, are just some of the tools the court may rely on in determining the appropriate sentence. They are therefore not necessarily binding on the court and where there is discrepancy regarding the contents of the reports and information from other sources such as from the parties themselves and the prison, the court is at liberty to decide which information to rely on in meting out its sentence. To rely on the said reports as the gospel truth, in my view, amounts to abdication of the court’s duty of adjudication to probation officers. While the same ought to be treated with great respect, it is another thing to accept them hook, line and sinker. They however ought not to be simply ignored unless there are good reasons for doing so.
16.In other words, the court appreciated that the circumstances under which the initial sentence was imposed may change as one serves out the sentence. Accordingly, in undertaking a resentencing the court must consider whether the circumstances of the accused during his/her incarceration have changed for the better or for worse. It is therefore important that not only should a report be availed to the court concerning the position of the victim’s family and the offender’s family but also the report from the prison authorities regarding the conduct of the offender during the period of incarceration. It is therefore my view that where a resentencing is directed the trial court ought to consider the filing of a probation report in order to assist it arrive at an appropriate report. However, the failure to do so is not necessarily fatal to the sentence.
17.In my view, it does not follow that in resentencing, the court is obliged to reduce the initial sentence. What is required of the court undertaking the resentencing is to look at all the circumstances of the case and to make a determination whether the appellant’s incarceration has achieved the objective for which he was sentenced such as punishment, deterrence, public protection and rehabilitation. In other words, the court is not to be bound only by the appellant’s conduct that led to his incarceration but also his conduct and circumstances since the said incarceration.
18.According to Francis Karioko Muruatetu & Another vs. Republic, Petition No. 15 of 2015:
19.I associate myself with views of J. Ngugi, J in Benson Ochieng & Another vs. Republic  eKLR that:
20.In my view, fairness to the accused where a sentence re-hearing is considered appropriate would require a consideration of the circumstances prior to the commission of the offence, at the time of the trial and subsequent to conviction. The conduct of the accused during the three stages may therefore be a factor to be considered in determining the appropriate sentence. The need to protect the society clearly requires the Court to consider the impact of the incarceration of the offender whether beneficial to him and the society or not hence the necessity for considering a pre-sentencing report.
21.In its decision the Court referred to Article 10(3) of the Covenant stipulates that—“[t]he penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation.” In my view where the accused has spent a considerable period of time in custody, it may be prudent for the Court while conducting a sentence re-hearing, in order to determine whether the accused has sufficiently reformed or has been adequately rehabilitated to direct that a pre-sentencing report be compiled. This is so because the circumstances of the accused in custody may have changed either in his favour or otherwise in order to enable the Court to determine which sentence ought to be meted. It may be that the accused had sufficiently reformed to be released back to the society. It may well be that the conduct of the accused while in custody may have deteriorated to the extent that it would not be in the interest of the society to have him released since one of the objectives of sentencing is to protect the community by incapacitating the offender.
22.Similarly cited was the decision of the Privy Council in Spence vs. The Queen; Hughes vs. the Queen (Spence & Hughes) (unreported, 2 April 2001) where Byron CJ was of the view that:
23.I have considered the circumstances in which the offence was committed and the effect on the family and the community of the same. I have also considered the Probation Officer’s Report as well the mitigating circumstances. From the probation report, it is clear that the accused has served 25 years in prison. He was related to the deceased. According to the report, the offence was caused by lack of self-control and self-gratification. He however, poses no risk to the community and it is very unlikely that he would repeat a similar offence.
24.I borrow the words of Ojwang, J (as he then was) in Yussuf Dahar Arog vs. Republic  eKLR where he expressed himself as hereunder:
25.As stated hereinabove in this case the incarceration of the accused has achieved two objectives of deterrence and rehabilitation. However, retribution is yet to be achieved. Incarcerating him further will however, not serve any purpose towards the achievement of that objective. To do so, and considering the period already served, I place the accused on probation for a period of 18 months.
26.It is so ordered.