Court revises sentence for man convicted of defiling girlfriend

The High Court at Kapsabet reduced the sentence from 15 years to seven years imprisonment.

In Summary
  • In view of the aforementioned, the court revised the sentence, reducing some eight years.
  • The court's verdict was delivered on October 9.
Court gavel
Court gavel
Image: FILE

At 15 years old, MC, a Form One student in Nandi County, had 'consensual' sex with her 20-year-old boyfriend, Delmas Kipruto Bett.

In Kenya, it is contrary to the law for an adult to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor- anyone below 18 years with their consent.

In the matter, MC and Bett met on August 17, 2020, at around 4 pm and hung out until 8 pm before going to the latter's house.

When they got to the house, charmed by young love, they decided to listen to music which lasted up until 2 am.

At this point, they decided to go to bed and that is when they engaged in intercourse.

During their time together and unknown to them, a neighbour had seen them and concerned by how young the girl looked, alerted the police at Kapsabet.

After investigations and finding out that MC was a minor, the officers picked up the girl and held her until her mother picked her up.

The girl's mother had earlier reported of her daughter's disappearance from home.

MC was then taken to the hospital where the clinical officer concluded that she had been defiled, which led the police to prefer the charge of defilement against Bett.

The man however denied committing the offence, claiming that on the material date, he was at his place of work.

When he got home, he started cleaning and that is when he was confronted by some people who wanted to know the occupants of a house which they pointed out.

The court heard that same ladies who were at that house were asked whether they knew him, which they denied.

After considering the facts before it, the trial court concluded that the prosecution’s case had been established against Bett beyond any reasonable doubt.

The man was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

He was however dissatisfied and moved to the High Court at Kapsabet, arguing that on the date of the offence, MC presented herself and behaved like an adult.

This, he added, showed that she ought to have been treated as a grown-up who knew what she was doing.

He went on to argue that in such circumstances, it would follow that the offence was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. 

Bett urged the court to allow the appeal and quash his conviction by the trial court, adding that his sentence was harsh and should be set aside or reduced.

The state however opposed the appeal praying for its dismissal.

After revisiting the evidence, Judge Joseph Karanja concluded that the state had proven its case as corroborated by the clinical officer's evidence.

"This therefore rendered the Appellant’s defence a mere denial in that regard which was in any event, clearly rebutted and disproved by the very strong and credible evidence availed by the prosecution," the court document reads.

The judge noted that the case was obvious in that the man engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor, thus committing the offence of defilement notwithstanding that MC voluntarily and with her consent participated in the unlawful act.

"He should have known better than to engage in sex with a minor despite her consent. In law, a minor is deemed to be incapable of giving consent to a sexual act," the court added.

It dismissed Bett's argument that MC behaved like an adult and deserved treatment as a grown-up.

Commenting on the sentence, Judge Karanja said for a first offender whose mind was clouded by his amorous nature, 15 years imprisonment was rather excessive.

In view of the aforementioned, the court revised the sentence, reducing some eight years.

"Consequently, the sentence is hereby set aside and substituted for a sentence of seven years imprisonment from the date of conviction," the judgment reads.

The court's verdict was delivered on October 9.

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