Republic & another v Njuguna & another (Criminal Case E005 of 2021)  KEHC 15602 (KLR) (3 November 2022) (Ruling)
Neutral citation:  KEHC 15602 (KLR)
Republic of Kenya
Criminal Case E005 of 2021
MM Kasango, J
November 3, 2022
Teresia Wanjiru Njuguna
Teresia Wanjiru Njuguna
1.Teresia Wanjiru Njuguna was on February 1, 2021 charged with the offence of murder. On February 4, 2021 she pleaded not guilty. Before her trial commenced, Teresia entered into negotiations with the prosecution on a plea bargain agreement.
2.On October 3, 2022 the court received the plea bargain agreement by Teresia, her learned advocate Mr Ongoto and by the prosecution counsel Mr Kasyoka. The parties agreed that Teresia be charged with the offence of manslaughter instead of murder.
3.I need to state that this court delayed in receiving the plea bargain agreement because the medical reports availed and filed in this matter showed that Teresia was under mental impairment. The report provided that Teresia was likely suffering from a delusional disorder and co-morbid depression. For that reason, the court ordered an updated medical report to be availed. A medical report was filed which was dated June 20, 2022. That medical report affirmed that Teresia was mentally stable and was capable of following court proceedings.
4.On October 3, 2022 Teresia pleaded guilty to the offence of manslaughter. The facts of that offence were that on January 10, 2021 there was an altercation between Teresia and the deceased, her husband. They were at their home at Gatwekera village in Gatundu, Kiambu County. The quarrel between the two was about an ongoing love affair between the deceased and a young woman. The deceased had allowed that young woman to occupy one house amongst others that Teresia and deceased were renting out. The quarrel about that love affair angered the deceased and he began to attack Teresia. The deceased cornered Teresia in their bedroom and threatened to kill her using a machete. Teresiah picked an axe in self defence which she used to fatally hit the deceased.
5.The postmortem report indicates cause of death was head injury due to blunt trauma.
6.Teresia pleaded guilty to the offence of manslaughter contrary to section 202 as read with section 205 of the Penal Code. The offence/charge is manslaughter not murder. The proof of the charge of manslaughter is quite different from murder. Any unlawful act that results in the death of a victim is an offence of manslaughter. The plea of guilty carries an admission that Teresia committed the crime. Clearly, when dealing with the offence of manslaughter, the sentence must emphasize deterrence and denunciation and importantly, the proportionality principle, meaning the sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. Obviously, the taking of someone’s life is the gravest of offences. The degree of responsibility includes the offender’s personal circumstances, mental capacity or motive for the killing.
7.In this case, Teresia was suffering mental illness when she committed the offence. She has since received treatment which is still ongoing. The medical report dated June 20, 2022 showed remarkable improvement in her mental health. She is on medication and also is undergoing psychotherapy sessions.
8.Teresiah is 64 years old. The facts of this case show that she was subjected to physical violence by her husband, the deceased. On the day in question, the deceased threatened to cut her with the machete. In self defence, Teresia picked an axe which she used to hit deceased on the head. That resulted in the death of the deceased.
9.Bearing the circumstances of this case, I am of the view that an appropriate sentence of two (2) years imprisonment which shall be suspended for one year.
10.Teresia Wanjiru Njuguna is hereby sentenced to imprisonment for two years for the offence of manslaughter which sentence is suspended for one year.
RULING DATED AND DELIVERED AT KIAMBU THIS 24TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2022.MARY KASANGOJUDGECoram:Court Assistant : Mourice/JuliaAccused : - Teresia Wanjiru NjugunaMr Ogoto for accused : -Mr Kasyoka for DPPRuling delivered virtually.MARY KASANGOJUDGE