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Suspect nicknamed 'Samido' sentenced to death

In Kenya, the death penalty can be imposed for several specific crimes, as outlined in the Penal Code and other relevant legislation.

Kibera Law Court
  • Samuel Macharia Muthoni, also known as Samido, was sentenced to death for robbery with violence in Kenya
  • The incident occurred in the Kinyanjui area of Riruta, Dagoretti Sub-County, within Nairobi County
  • The prosecution presented a compelling case against Macharia, calling a total of five witnesses to testify

The Kibera Law Court on Thursday sentenced a suspect Samuel Macharia Muthoni, known as Samido, to death for the brutal offence of robbery with violence.

This sentence follows an incident that occurred on the morning of January 8, 2024, in the Kinyanjui area of Riruta, Dagoretti Sub-County, within Nairobi County.

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According to the court's findings, at around 6:20 a.m. on the fateful day, Geoffrey Omweri Ontita was opening the shop where he works as an attendant when he was suddenly ambushed by a group of men.

The attackers, including Macharia and others not before the court, demanded that Ontita surrender his mobile phone, valued at Sh23,725.

When Ontita resisted, the situation escalated into violence.

The attackers began to strike and kick Ontita, with one of them hitting him with a beer bottle on the right side of his face, causing severe bleeding.

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Overwhelmed by the violence, Ontita eventually relinquished his phone. His colleague, who attempted to intervene, also had his phone stolen.

The attackers fled when passersby responded to the victims' screams.

The victims reported the incident to Riruta Police Station, providing a key piece of information: they recognised one of the attackers as a man who operated a bar near their shop.

This identification proved crucial in the subsequent investigation.

The prosecution, led by Ms. Kathurima, presented a compelling case against Macharia, calling a total of five witnesses to testify.

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The evidence presented clearly implicated Macharia in the violent robbery, leading to the court's verdict.

In Kenya, the death penalty can be imposed for several specific crimes, as outlined in the Penal Code and other relevant legislation.

The following are the primary offences that can lead to a death sentence:

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Under Section 203 of the Penal Code, any person who commits murder is liable to be sentenced to death. Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought.

Section 40 of the Penal Code stipulates that any person who is found guilty of treason shall be sentenced to death. Treason involves acts such as levying war against the state, attempting to overthrow the government, or aiding the enemy during wartime.

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According to Section 296(2) of the Penal Code, robbery with violence is punishable by death. This applies if the offender is armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon, is in the company of one or more persons, or immediately before or after the robbery uses or threatens to use violence.

Under Section 60 of the Penal Code, it is a capital offence to administer an oath or engage in any form of ceremony binding a person to commit a capital offence, such as murder or treason.

Attempted murder, specifically targeting law enforcement officers in the course of their duties, can lead to severe penalties, including the death sentence in certain aggravated cases.

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The Merchant Shipping Act includes provisions for the death penalty in cases of piracy where violence or threats of violence are used, and such acts endanger the life of individuals.

While these crimes are eligible for the death penalty, the judiciary also considers various factors, including the circumstances of the crime, the evidence presented, and any mitigating or aggravating factors.

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In 2017, the Supreme Court of Kenya declared the mandatory death sentence for murder unconstitutional, ruling that it violated the right to a fair trial and individual circumstances should be considered.

There has been significant debate and advocacy regarding the abolition or reform of the death penalty in Kenya.

Human rights organisations and legal reform advocates argue against the death penalty on grounds of human rights, the risk of wrongful convictions, and the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent.

These discussions have led to ongoing reviews and recommendations for changes in the legal framework surrounding capital punishment.

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