NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 6 – Former Miss Langata Women Prison beauty queen Ruth Kamande who was convicted of murder for stabbing her boyfriend twenty-two times at Buruburu estate in 2015 will remain behind bars after the Court of Appeal upheld her death sentence.
“Having carefully examined the evidence on record, we find the conclusion that the appellant violently, intentionally and unlawfully killed the deceased inescapable. On our own analysis, we find no fault and agree entirely with the learned Judge’s finding,” the Court of Appeal ruled.
High Court judge Jessie Lessit had found Kamande guilty of the offence an sentenced her to death in 2017.
Kamande who was crowned the 2016 Lang’ata Women Prison beauty queen later appealed the sentence.
She was represented by Prof. Githu Muigai , while the respondent was represented by Hassan, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.
In her defence, Muigai faulted the prosecution for relying heavily on the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence he said was contradictory and inconsistent.
Among other concerns raised by the appellant was that the events unfolded in
the manner assumed by the trial court and the appellant was truly of bad intent and that the trial court had exhibited bias against the appellant.
Counsel submitted that the sentence imposed was unduly harsh and failed to appreciate that
the appellant was 22 years old, a first time offender and that she had been willing to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter before the plea bargaining process had been aborted by the prosecution.
He called for leniency leading that “even if the conviction on the charge of murder was to stand, sentencing ought to have been adjusted to reflect the mitigating circumstances.”
The respondent however dismissed the concerns raised by the appellant stating: “the alleged unreconciled contradictions, discrepancies and inconsistencies in the prosecution evidence, we find that these were either well explained in other testimony, inconsequential or adequately addressed by the learned trial Judge.”
While convicting the beauty queen, the judge had noted that the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence.
Justice Lesiit committed the Kamande to death despite the penalty having been lifted by a superior court saying her court was free to exercise judicial discretion.
She noted that despite the Supreme Court finding the death penalty unconstitutional in a previous decision , the punishment was still enshrined in statutes.
“In my view, the discretion to pass a sentence other than death in capital offences should only be exercised in deserving cases. I do not find this a deserving case and I think passing any other sentence than the one prescribed would turn the accused into a hero,” the judge said during Kamande’s sentencing.
According to submissions made in court, Kamande stabbed her 22-year-old boyfriend Farid Mohammed over twenty times following a domestic dispute sparked by a revelation that he had been taking HIV suppressing drugs without her knowledge.
Kamande said Mohammed had threatened her when she confronted him.
“It is clear from the prosecution evidence that the stabs were not done at ago. They were done in intervals,” Justice Lesiit ruled saying Kamande had premeditated the stabbing.