Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tom Cholmondeley sentenced to eight months.

Kenya court jails Delamere kin for eight months

Tom Cholmondeley, Delamere's kin, listens as High Court Judge Muga Apondi delivers his verdict in this file picture. The Judge sentenced him to eight moths imprisonment. Photo/ PAUL WAWERU

By NATION ReporterPosted Thursday, May 14 2009 at 11:56
In Summary

Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko acknowledges Mr Cholmondeley was a first offender.

Judge Apondi had initially reduced Cholmondeley’s murder charge and convicted him for manslaughter.

Lord Delamere's heir Tom Cholmondeley has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment for killing stonemason Robert Njoya.

High Court Judge Muga Apondi handed down the light sentence on Thursday, two days after hearing final submissions from both the prosecution and defence.

"In view of the total circumstances of the case and the guiding principles to sentencing, I hereby wish to impose a light sentence on the accused to allow him reflect on his life and change to an appropriate direction," said Judge Apondi.

"The upshot is that I hereby sentence the accused to 8 months imprisonment."

The judge said the fact that Mr Cholmondeley has " been held in custody for slightly over three years since he was arrested" and had no malice aforethought (intent to kill) prompted him to issue the light sentence.

He said that the prosecution had acknowledged that Mr Cholmondeley made desperate attempts to save the life of Mr Njoya, including calling Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and the police after the fatal shooting. He also offered his car to rush the victim to hospital.

The Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko also agreed that Mr Cholmondeley was a first offender.

These two mitigating factors were crucial in determining Cholmondeley's prison term, said Judge Apondi.

The judge said Mr Cholmondeley reserves the right to appeal the sentence.

Judge Apondi had initially reduced Cholmondeley’s murder charge and convicted him for manslaughter.

He found that Cholmondeley shot and killed Mr Njoya three years ago, but spared him death by hanging because a murder charge could not be sustained.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory death sentence.

Mr Justice Apondi relied on the evidence of Mr Carl Tundo, who was with Cholmondeley on the fateful day, to rule that the accused shot and killed Mr Njoya.

He found that the accused did not have malice aforethought (intention to kill) when he shot Mr Njoya at his Soysambu ranch on May 10, 2006.

My thoughts?

I'm so glad the man is going to be released. He served his time for protecting his land and continued conservation of protected species. The victim's family appear to have been compensated for their loss. Also, I still have no doubt that the efforts this man will put toward prison program reform in the future will make a larger impact than any other elected bugger in office has ever attempted.

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