What you need to know:
- The judge said there was no evidence pointing to the accused as having committed the offense as charged.
- A lower court had found Ms Mayaka guilty of gouging out the eyes of her grandson, Baby Sagini, and handed her the sentence.
A court in Kisii has acquitted Rael Mayaka, 80, who had been handed a five-year jail term for gouging out the eyes of her grandson, baby Junior Sagini.
High Court judge Kiarie Waweru, while acquitting Mayaka, said the prosecution did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge said there was no evidence pointing to the accused as having committed the offense as charged.
“There was no evidence to support the grievous harm charge. The investigating officer did not testify whether he investigated the evidence for grievous harm. The sentence is set aside,” said Justice Waweru.
Shortly after he acquittal, Ms Mayaka broke into song and dance outside the Kisii Law Courts, thanking God for her acquittal.
“Thank you... God has helped me... that child is good... God has helped me…. I am going to my house. There is nothing (there)... I am alone in my house... there is no child... my grandson is not there... thank you God,” the elated Ms Mayaka said.
A lower court had found her guilty of gouging out the eyes of her grandson, Baby Sagini, and handed her the sentence.
She was jailed along her daughter Pacificah Nyakerario and another grandson Alex Maina Ochogo in June 2023.
Ochogo (Sagini’s cousin), Nyakerario (Sagini’s aunt) and Mayaka (Sagini’s grandmother) were sentenced to a 40, 10 and five years’ imprisonment, respectively, for gouging out the eyes of the three-year-old boy.
Ochogo and Nyakerario did not appeal the judgment.
Mayaka’s lawyer, Mr Kerosi said the appellant has finally been found innocent although she was wrongly accused.
“From the word go, I was convinced that Mayaka was not guilty. She was the custodian of the baby. She was the one who was taking care of Sagini. She was the one who was looking for a person to inherit her property. She therefore had no reason to harm him,” said Mr Kerosi.
“We wait for court and investigative agencies to do their work and come up with a finding. Let the public be patient whenever somebody is arrested. Let Mayaka live her life, she is in her sunset days and she is better left to live the remaining time in peace," he added.
Senior Resident Magistrate Christine Ogweno, while giving her ruling for the lower court, said she had taken into account their respective ages, with Nyakerario and Mayaka being 51 and 80 years respectively. The court was unsure whether Ochogo was aged 27 or 37.
“The court considers the role played particularly by each of the three offenders. The minor lost his eyes and eyesight at the hands of his cousin, Alex Maina Ochogo, the first accused person herein. I am unable to find any mitigating circumstances on his end,” said Ms Ogweno.
The Magistrate said Nyakerario and Mayaka were aiders and abettors and that their limited role in the commission of the offence was taken into consideration.
“The community’s attitude and pre-sentencing report remain unfavourable towards Nyakerario. The case is different for Mayaka who took care of the victim and his sister while their mother struggled to make ends meet away from their home,” said Ms Ogweno as she sentenced the two women.
The magistrate, while sentencing the three convicts, said the victim was a child of tender age.
Before December 13, 2022, the magistrate said, the boy lived a relatively normal life under the care of his grandmother.
However, Ms Ogweno noted, the events of December 13, 2022, will forever be etched in Baby Sagini's mind and engraved in his life, if memories were to fail him, having lost his eyes and declared permanently blind.
The lower court established that the young boy’s eyes were gouged out by his cousin, Ochogo, using a sharp knife, on December 13, 2022, at their home in Ikuruma in Marani sub-County.