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Court orders retrial of man who was jailed for 30 years for defiling his ‘wife’

The High Court in Embu has ordered the retrial of a man who was sentenced to 30 years after he pleaded guilty to defiling a minor.

The court has ordered that Livo Mutugi Njeru be charged and tried afresh on the grounds of an ambiguous charge.

PLEADED GUILTY

In 2015 when Njeru was charged in Runyenjes court with defiling the minor, he pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Njeru told the court that the minor he was accused of defiling was his wife of two years and that no family member had an issue with their marriage.

But after the sentencing, Njeru moved to the High Court and sought to have his conviction quashed and the sentence set aside.

According to court documents, Njeru claims that the trial magistrate erred in law.

HARSH SENTENCE

“That the learned trial magistrate also erred in law and facts sentencing the appellant to 30 years (in jail) which was harsh and excessive,” the court heard.

Njeru further told the court that the complainant had been married to him for two years and there was no complaint lodged opposing their marriage.

According to Njeru he was arrested as a result of a dispute between him and the area chief.

Njeru told the court there was a land dispute involving him and the area administrator and that was the reason why he was arrested and charged in court.

GRAVITY OF OFFENCE

The claimed that his sentence to harsh as he had unconsciously pleaded guilty, in addition to being young and a first-time offender.

In her ruling, Justice Florence Muchemu merited the appeal and noted that the trial court failed to explain to Njeru the nature and magnitude of the charge he was facing and the severity of the sentence.

“The offence facing the appellant was a serious one and the court ought to have made sure the appellant was aware of the gravity of the offence facing him,” Muchemi said.

The judge while delivering the ruling on July 2, 2020 ordered a retrial by a different magistrate within four months.