Republic v Langat (Criminal Case 8 of 2018)  KEHC 16189 (KLR) (8 December 2022) (Ruling)
Neutral citation:  KEHC 16189 (KLR)
Republic of Kenya
Criminal Case 8 of 2018
RL Korir, J
December 8, 2022
Weldon Kipyegon Langat
1.The accused was charged with the offence of murder contrary to section 203 as read with section 204 of the Penal Code. The particulars of the charge were that on the 9th day of June, 2018 at Emitiot Sub-location, Cheboin location within Bomet County murdered one Wesley Kiprono Langat.
2.At the conclusion of the trial, this court found the accused guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter contrary to section 202 as read with section 205 of the Penal Code. In convicting the accused the court in its judgment dated 28/9/2022 held as follows:-
3.This court heard the mitigation of the accused on November 3, 2022. Learned defence counsel Mr Kipngetich submitted that the accused was remorseful and prayed for leniency. That the family had reconciled and forgiven him. That his father was now sickly and missed the accused who used to take care of him. Counsel further submitted that the accused had a young family which he was taking care of.
4.On the present circumstances of the accused, counsel submitted that he was now reformed, born again and had taken on an admirable character. That he had undertaken Bible and theological studies, was baptized and promised to be a law abiding citizen. Finally, counsel asked the court to consider that the accused had spent 4 years in pre-trial custody. He prayed for a non-custodial sentence.
5.The accused’s father who was present was given audience by the court as required by section 9 and 12 of the Victim Protection Act, 2014. He asked the court to give the accused a lenient sentence. His wish was that the accused “should be given some discipline then released to come home”.
6.Mr Njeru, the learned prosecution counsel submitted that the court should consider the time the accused had spent in pre-trial custody. He acknowledged the accused’s efforts at reconciliation but prayed that justice be served for the victims. He asked the court to give a custodial sentence, however lenient.
7.This court is guided by the objectives of sentencing as set out in the Judiciary Sentencing Guidelines 2016. They include retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, restorative justice, community protection and denunciation. In Thomas Mwambu Wenyi vs Republic (2017) eKLR, the Court of Appeal held that:-
8.I have considered the circumstances of the offence. The accused stabbed his brother when he intervened in a quarrel between the accused and their mother who was trying to stop the accused from cutting her trees. It was not clear to the court why the accused would resort to such an extreme measure as to slash his brother to death.
9.This court considers that the accused requires to be rehabilitated on anger management and also be given skills on how to earn his own living without resorting to violence to access the property of his parents, including the disputed trees. This court agrees with the accused’s father that “the accused should be disciplined”
10.I have taken into consideration the pre-sentence probation officer’s report filed on October 13, 2022. The report indicates that both the accused and the deceased were siblings and that the family had called a clan meeting to deliberate on the killing. That they resolved to forgive the accused and seek his release for traditional cleansing to be undertaken. The report also stated that the accused abused alcohol and drugs (bhang) and was not married. The report further stated that the deceased’s wife had come to terms with the loss of her husband, and had no more bitterness against the accused. The probation officer recommended a non-custodial sentence.
11.From the pre-sentence report and the submissions of the father of the victim, it is clear that the victim’s wish is to have the accused released on a probationary sentence. This court agrees with the learned prosecutor that the accused caused loss of life and deserves a custodial sentence. It is indeed important that there be proportionality. The maximum sentence for manslaughter under section 205 of the Penal Code is life imprisonment.
12.In Priscillah Cherono Chebet & 2 others, (2016) eKLR, this court held as follows:-
13.In this case the court has considered the desire of the victims to undertake traditional reconciliation and cleansing which they so value. In consequence, the accused shall be given a lenient prison sentence which will allow the family upon completion, to undertake their traditional/rites and find closure.
14.The accused is sentenced to serve 8 years’ imprisonment. The sentence shall be deemed to run from June 18, 2018 being the date of his pre-trial custody.
SENTENCE DELIVERED, DATED AND SIGNED AT BOMET THIS 8TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2022.R. LAGAT-KORIRJUDGE**Sentence delivered in the presence of Mr. Suter for the State, Ms. Chepkemoi holding brief for Kipngetich, for the Accused, and Kiprotich (Court Assistant).