Judge refuses to release man, says he deserves life sentence

Judge Edward Muriithi

Meru Principal Judge Edward Muriithi makes a ruling inside Meru High Court. 

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro I Nation Media Group

A Meru High Court judge has rejected recommendations to release a man who chopped off his aunt's arm and cut her several times, saying he had already benefited from a lenient sentence.

Justice Edward Muriithi ruled that Jerevasio Muthaura had received a slap on the wrist when he was sentenced to six years in jail for causing grievous bodily harm to his aunt.

He emphasised the seriousness of the attack, which left the victim with an amputated left forearm and deep cuts on her left cheek, left leg and left buttock.

The magistrate ruled that such injuries attract life imprisonment under Section 234 of the Penal Code and urged Muthaura to wait until November 4, 2023, when he will be released.

Muthaura had for the second time appealed against the November 4, 2019 ruling, seeking early release from prison under the decongestion exercise.

He had told the court that he had suffered enough for the offence he committed and had undergone counselling and training, making him fit for early release.

Muthaura's application for a review of his sentence was supported by the local probation officer, who said he was suitable for a review of his sentence.

While the probation report persuaded the court to release the prisoner, it also indicated that the victim was not opposed to the prospect of Muthaura's early release.

Principal State Prosecutor Eric Masila, who represented the State, did not file any submissions, despite being invited to do so by the court.

However, Justice Muriithi ruled that although the probation service had recommended Muthaura's release, the proposal would not sway the court due to the seriousness of the offence.

He noted that the court had rejected Muthaura's application for early release in June 2021 and that he still did not deserve it because he had already benefited from a lenient sentence.

"The sentence of six years’ imprisonment imposed on the applicant was lenient, considering that the penalty prescribed under section 234 of the Penal Code is life imprisonment.

"Although the court is required under section 176 of the CPC to promote reconciliation and settlement of cases of common assault and offences of a personal nature, the offence should not be aggravated as in this case," Justice Muriithi ruled.