Time Spent in Custody
1.The Appeal herein emanates from the resentencing decision of Hon W Juma in Narok Chief Magistrate’s Court Cr Case No 1138 of 2013 delivered on the March 1, 2019 in which the Appellant was Re-sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for the offence of Robbery with violence contrary to Section 295 as read with Section 296 (2) of the Penal Code.
2.The appellant vide memorandum of appeal dated March 4, 2019 has set out 7 grounds of appeal which can be condensed into three (3) as follows;i.That the learned trial magistrate erred in law and facts by not complying with section 333(2) of the CPC and Section 38 of the Penal Code.ii.That the learned trial magistrate did not take into consideration the appellant’s mitigation that he is a father of five school-going children and that he was the sole breadwinner of the family.iii.That the learned trial magistrate erred in law and fact by failing to find that the appellant was a first offender.
3.The appeal was canvassed by way of written submissions. Both parties filed their submissions.
4.The appellant submitted that the period spent in custody awaiting trial and conviction and the time spent in custody awaiting determination of the appeal was not taken into account.
5.The appellant submitted that he has embraced the rehabilitative programs offered at the correctional facility. Therefore, this court should consider the 8 years already served to be enough for rehabilitation.
7.The prosecution submitted that, this court, (Bwonwong’a J), having determined an appeal on conviction, has no jurisdiction to determine questions of conviction. They cited the obvious; that the court has no supervisory jurisdiction over court of concurrent jurisdiction lest it should offend Article 165(6) of the Constitution. The only avenue to challenge conviction is the Court of Appeal pursuant to Section 361 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
8.But, on sentence; the respondent submitted that the sentence passed by the trial court was within the law.
9.The respondent submitted that the appellant has not laid down any evidence that would warrant this court to interfere with the exercise of discretion by the trial court. The trial court, they argued further, took into account the aggravating factors presented by the prosecution and the appellant's mitigation.
10.The respondent urged the court to consider the record of the proceedings from the time the appellant was arraigned in court in Narok Chief Magistrate Criminal Case No 1138 of 2013 during the first trial up to his first appeal at the high court at Naivasha and consequently, the retrial at the lower court and his consequent appeal at Narok high court and up to date whether he spend all this time in custody.
11.In the end, the respondent submitted that this court should uphold the sentence passed upon the appellant herein as being proper to the extent that the court exercised its discretion within the law at the time it applied Francis Muruatetu 1.
Analysis and Determination
13.First appellate court is obligated to re-evaluate the evidence and make its conclusions but, bearing in mind that the trial court had the advantage of hearing and observing the demeanor of the witnesses. See Okeno vs Republic  EA 32
14.I have considered the grounds of appeal, the re-sentence judgment of the lower court, and the appellant’s submissions. I find the main issue for determination is;i.Whether the sentence imposed was excessive; andii.Whether time spent in custody was taken into account in re-sentencing the appellant.
15.Before I delve into the issue for determination in this appeal, it is prudent to give a brief history of this matter.
16.The appellant herein was charged together with Peter Mugo Mathu and Musa Ikote Nkuruna with two counts of robbery with violence contrary to Section 296(2) of the Penal Code. Peter Mugo Mathu faced an alternative count of handling stolen goods contrary to Section 322(1) as read with Section 322(2) of the Penal Code. They were charged in Narok Chief Magistrate Case No 1138 of 2013. They were tried before (Hon TA Sitati (SRM) Peter Mugo Mathu was acquitted while More Ole Sarite and Musa Ikote Nkurruna were found guilty and convicted on the first count. On the 2nd count, More Ole Sarite and Musa Ikote Nkurruna were acquitted while Peter Mugo Mathu was found guilty and convicted. They were sentenced to death.
17.The appellants being dissatisfied with the sentence by the trial court appealed to the High court at Naivasha individually. The three appeals were consolidated. The court quashed the conviction of More Ole Sairite and Musa Ikote Nkurruna on the first count. The court upheld the conviction and sentence of Peter Mugo Mathu. The court ordered a retrial on the 1st count for More Ole Sarite and Musa Ikote Nkurruna before a different magistrate at Narok. see Peter Mugo Mathu & 2 others V Republic [2015 eKLR.
18.The re-trial commenced before the Hon W Juma and on August 4, 2017 she found them guilty and sentenced the two to death.
19.The appellant herein and Musa Ikote Nkurruna dissatisfied with the decision appealed to this court. Their appeals were consolidated. Bwonwong’a J found that the two were correctly convicted but quashed the sentence of death passed and ordered for re-sentence hearing before the trial court in accordance with the supreme court decision in the Francis Muruatetu case.
20.The resentencing hearing was conducted by the trial court and the two were sentenced to 20 years.
21.The appellant filed an application seeking leave to appeal out of time. This court considered the application and observed that the appellant’s appeal touched on the legality, and propriety of the sentence passed by the trial court in re-sentencing. See More Ole Sarite V Republic [2021 eKLR.
22.I now proceed to determine the issue in this appeal.
24.Court’s duty under the section has also been explained in the Judiciary Sentencing Policy Guidelines (under clauses 7.10 and 7.11) as follows:
26.Accordingly, Section 333(2) of the CPC pertains to a fair trial.
27.See also Section 137I (2) (a) of the CPC: -
Applying the Test
28.The appellant herein was convicted of the offence of robbery with violence contrary to Section 295 as read with Section 296(2) of the Penal Code. The trial court (Hon W Juma) stated as follows: -
29.The trial magistrate considered the mitigation by the appellant and even expressed sympathy to the family of the appellant had the death sentence been upheld. She was acutely aware that sentencing is at the discretion of the trial court. I do not, therefore, find any injudiciousness on the part of the trial court in passing the sentence. I uphold the sentence.
Of Time Spent in Custody
30.The trial magistrate was also categorical that the accused had not served jail for 2 years and their appeal was through. The trial magistrate had in mind the time spent in custody. A holistic consideration of this matter is that given the nature and commission of the offence, the severe penalty prescribed- read death- and the pronouncements by the magistrate, the 20 years’ imprisonment was quite lenient and took account of Section 333(2) of the CPC. I, therefore, find not any violation of his right. Except, however, for clarity and interest of justice, the sentence herein shall run from the date of conviction upon re-trial ie August 4, 2017. It is so ordered.