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Eldoret grandfather appeals life sentence in defilement case

By Titus Ominde January 31st, 2024 3 min read

A-78-year-old grandfather serving a life sentence after he was found guilty of defiling an eight-year-old girl wants the court to release him due to his advanced age.

Luke Owino told the court that he is too old to continue suffering in prison on stage-managed charge.

He also maintains his innocence, suggesting the minor’s mother framed him to cover a debt she owed him.

According to Mzee Owino the charges were managed to stop him from demanding payment of the debt in question.

A grocery trader, mzee Owino insists he sold some goods on credit to the minor’s mother and trouble started when he demanded payment.

“My generosity of lending my neighbor some goods have made me languish in prison at this age when I am supposed to be at home enjoying fellowship with my grandchildren,” he told an Eldoret high court where he has appealed the sentence.

He pleaded with the court to free him and if the High court finds no merit in his appeal he would like to be given a noncustodial sentence.

The inmate told the court that it is pathetic that he has even become a burden to prison where he is supposed to be given special treatment due to his age.

“Even at the prison I have become a burden to the prison management, the officer in charge has been so lenient to me by assigning a young person to take care of me, I am no longer an asset to the prison but a liability. Let this court consider me for a non-custodial sentence,” he told the court.

While appearing before Justice Reuben Nyakundi, he told the court the decision to jail him amounts to reducing his years on earth before God’s time of taking him to heaven.

Looking weak in the dock, the senior citizen pleaded with the Judge to give him back his freedom arguing that he did not commit the offence that he was accused of as it was all lies aimed at tarnishing his name.

He told the Judge that he was not on good terms with the complainant’s mother after he turned down her request to borrow foodstuffs in his grocery roadside stall after she made a habit of not paying for the goods purchased.

“The mother of the minor framed me for the charge after I turned down her request to borrow more goods from my grocery stall after she failed to clear the debts of goods she took from my roadside business,” said Owino.

In his appeal at the High Court in Eldoret, Owino contended that the lower court erred in sentencing him to life in prison.

The octogenarian further argued that the prosecution did not prove the defilement case against him beyond reasonable doubt.

He told the Judge that the medical records produced in court as evidence against him were not stamped and verified by a medical doctor at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital hence questioned the legality of the document that convinced the court he defiled the minor.

“The scene of crime officers has never visited the scene where the said crime was committed and also no statements were recorded from me and the minor,” he told the court.

Mzee Owino was defending himself at the High Court after he had appealed a March 3, 2023 judgment where the Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Areri handed him life imprisonment for defiling the 8-year-old girl.

According to the charge sheet the offence was committed on June 4, 2021, at Huruma informal settlement area on the outskirts of Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County.

His appeal at the high court will be mentioned on March 27 for further directions.