How woman who killed co-wife got her freedom despite evidence in court
Ms Veronicah Musati Nyangweso is a free woman, serving a light sentence of a two-year probation.
She was found guilty of the offence of manslaughter, having been charged with murder of her ‘co-wife’.
On June 22, 2017 at Daraja Mbili market, Kisii Township within Kisii County, the accused murdered Judy Kwamboka by stabbing her on the back.
Kisii High Court Judge David Majanja sentenced the accused to serve a two-year probation having found her guilty of manslaughter.
“Following the conclusions, I have reached, I find the accused, Veronicah Musati Nyangweso guilty of the offence of manslaughter contrary to section 202 as read with section 205 of the Penal Code for unlawfully causing the death of Judy Kwamboka and I convict her accordingly,” said Justice Majanja in his judgement.
The prosecution lined up four witnesses among them Mr Enoch Onchoka Maina, husband of the two women.
The facts as presented by the prosecution are that on 21, June 2017 at about 10pm, Mr Onchoka closed his workshop and headed for Abuja Bar where he met the deceased who was employed at the bar.
He waited for her to complete her duties so that they could go to his place. On the way, he stopped to buy a soda at a shop only to return and find the accused and the deceased fighting.
Mr Onchoka told the court that he could not see them clearly as they were fighting but when he got closer; he saw the accused using a weapon to stab the deceased in the back.
“She started bleeding from the mouth and nose. I called a boda boda rider and took her to Ram Hospital within Kisii town. I was later informed by a police officer that the woman had passed away,” said Mr Onchoka who was the first witness in this particular case.
When cross examined, he confirmed that in fact the accused and deceased were his wives and while he lived at Daraja Mbili, his wives lived about three kilometres apart. He denied that he had beaten the accused on that day.
Investigating officer Corporal Wilson Kiptum who was the fourth witness said he received a call from members of the public at midnight informing him that two women were fighting and one had been stabbed.
“I rushed to the scene with other officers. I found the deceased lying down and an irate mob threatening to lynch the accused. We arrested the accused and the deceased was rushed to Ram Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries,” said the officer.
When put on her defence, the accused elected to give sworn testimony. She told the court that her husband brought another woman to their home, something that infuriated her.
The offence of murder is defined by section 203 of the Penal Code as follows, “Any person who of malice aforethought causes death of another person by an unlawful act or omission is guilty of murder.”
According to the judgement issued by Justice Majanja, the fact and cause of death was not disputed.
Dr Peter Morebu Momanyi who conducted the post mortem on the deceased on June 29, 2017 concluded that the deceased died as a result of a chest injury secondary to penetrating trauma to the chest. Dr Morebu was the third witness.
Justice Majanja said the court needed to determine whether the accused committed an unlawful act or omission which led to the deceased’s death.
“The only eyewitness to the stabbing was Mr Onchoka who knew both the accused and deceased as they were, according to him, his “wives”. The main issue for determination is whether the accused stabbed the deceased,” said Majanja.
The accused’s lawyer urged the court to make an adverse inference in favour of the accused as one Jeremiah Nyangau Nyangate who witnessed the incident was not called to give evidence.
“On the basis of the evidence, I am satisfied on the basis of the prosecution evidence that the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused stabbed the deceased. I now turn to consider the issue of malice aforethought,” said Justice Majanja.
The judge said the accused was in a fit of anger and given that she inflicted one stab wound she was entitled to the benefit of doubt.