AG wants stiffer penalty for Kenya aristocrat

June 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Barely two weeks after Naivasha rancher Tom Cholmondeley filed an appeal against an eight-month jail sentence, the State has also filed its own suit seeking stiffer penalty.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko on Tuesday filed a certificate in the Court of Appeal seeking a review and enhancement of the sentence, imposed by High Court judge Muga Apondi over the killing of stonemason Robert Njoya.

Mr Tobiko said justice Apondi was very lenient with Cholmondeley when he handed him the sentence.

“In imposing the sentence the learned trial judge failed to take into account all the relevant factors and took into account extraneous and irrelevant factors,” Mr Tobiko said.

“The said sentence is so lenient as to amount to gross miscarriage of justice and inconsistent with the ends of justice.”

“It is proposed to ask the court to make an order by way of enhancement of the said sentence,” he added in the notice filed in the court of appeal’s registry on Tuesday.

The Attorney General’s filing for the review comes barely two weeks after Mr Cholmondeley filed a notice to appeal against the manslaughter conviction.

In a notice filed in the High Court registry on May 18, Mr Cholmondeley is challenging the verdict of High Court judge Muga Apondi who found him guilty of killing stonemason Robert Njoya on his expansive Soysambu ranch in Naivasha on May 10, 2006.

The farmer is currently serving an eight-month jail term at Kamiti Maximum Prison.

His lawyer Fred Ojimbo last week confirmed that they have filed the notice.

“Yes, indeed we filed a notice of appeal against the conviction,” he said in a telephone interview.

The notice as filed in court reads: “Take notice that that the accused person, Thomas G. Cholmondeley appeals to the Court of Appeal against the decision of Justice Muga Apondi where the appellant was found guilty and convicted of the offence of manslaughter.”

While handing him the ‘light sentence’ Justice Apondi had said the sentence was meant to give Mr Cholmondeley time to reflect on his life.

“He had no malice aforethought in killing the accused, he bore him no grudge and the shooting was not pre-mediated," Justice Apondi. "I will enforce a light sentence to give the accused person some time to reflect upon his life. The upshot of this is I hereby sentence him to eight months in prison."

Across section of Kenyans had rejected the sentence terming it lenient and slap on the wrist.


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