Abukar Bashir Issack, convicted of defilement, breathed a sigh of relief on Friday after a magistrate’s court in Mandera reduce his life sentence to 30 years in jail.
Issack had appealed an earlier ruling by the same court that could have seen him spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The Garissa High Court, in its judgment dated February 18, 2020, dismissed the man’s appeal upon conviction.
But it set aside the life sentence and directed that the appellant be sentenced by the trial court in Mandera.
Issack was charged with defiling a two-year-old boy on January 10, 2018. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but appealed in January 2019. He was 20 years old at the time.
State Counsel Allen Mulama insisted that the man be jailed for life as a deterrence, further arguing that the victim is now four years old and will live with the trauma for his entire life.
A report filed by the probation office showed the victim feared men, including his own father, after the ordeal.
Mr Mulama said life imprisonment was still a legal sentence and that the convict deserved it.
Mandera Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Wasike observed that there is no doubt that Section 8(1) as read with Section 8(2) of the Sexual Offences Act provides that a person who commits an offence of defilement with a child aged 11 years or below shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to life imprisonment.
“I concur with the prosecuting counsel that life imprisonment is still a lawful sentence and can be meted out in appropriate cases,” he said.
The Judiciary Sentencing Policy Guidelines outline the principles underpinning the sentencing process which include that the sentence meted out must be proportionate to the offending behaviour.
In particular, the sentencing process must uphold the dignity of both the offender and the victim.
Mr Wasike observed that the boy will live with trauma for many years to come.
The accused, in mitigation, only sought for leniency and asked for consideration of the time he has been in custody.
“There is no doubt that the accused is unremorseful for what he did to the two-year-old boy,” said the magistrate.
He concluded that young boys and girls need protection, further stating that a deterrent sentence will be appropriate.
“I have taken into account the period he has been in custody, noting that he never secured a bond. However, I believe the accused needs to benefit from a prison sentence by way of rehabilitation and not just by way of punishment thus a life sentence will not achieve this,” ruled Mr Wasike.
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