Appeal court in Kenya upholds death sentence for Ruth Kamande’s death sentence
Her defense attorneys had urged the court to substitute the judgment of the High Court with a finding of manslaughter
The appellate court found the conviction of Kamande for murder was within the confines of the law, and there was no reason to interfere with the death penalty
Kamande, 26, was sentenced to the death in 2016
She was convicted of murder after fatally stabbing her boyfriend Farid Mohamed Halim with a knife 22 times at Buruburu, Nairobi in Sept 2015
Kamande reportedly stabbed 22-year-old Halim following a row sparked by a revelation that he had been taking HIV suppressing drugs without her knowledge
Pleading for a more lenient sentence defense urged the court to substitute the judgment of the High Court with a finding of manslaughter
Kamande who has been incarcerated since 2015 was crowned the 2016 Lang’ata Women Prison beauty queen
The Court of Appeal in Kenya has upheld the death sentence handed Ruth Wanjiku Kamande’s two years ago.
Kamande, 26, the former Miss Langata Women Prison beauty queen was convicted of murder for stabbing her boyfriend twenty-two times at his home in the Buruburu estate in September 2015.
Defense had submitted that Kamande stabbed Mohammed Halim following a row sparked by a revelation that he had been taking HIV suppressing drugs without her knowledge
“Having carefully examined the evidence on record, we find the conclusion that the appellant violently, intentionally and unlawfully killed the deceased inescapable. On our own analysis, we find no fault and agree entirely with the learned Judge’s finding,” the Court of Appeal ruled.
The High Court presided by judge Jessie Lessit had found the appellant guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to death in 2017.
Kamande who has been incarcerated since 2015 was crowned the 2016 Lang’ata Women Prison beauty queen.
Kamande appealed her murder on the grounds that the state had not proven the charge of murder, therefore, her conviction and sentencing for murder was not proper.
The defense led by former Attorney-General Githu Muigai, had urged the court to substitute the judgment of the High Court with a finding of manslaughter.
Pleading self-defense, the defense argued that Farid’s death occurred during a confrontation between the two lovers.
Their client had been threatened and attacked and that she had defended herself from imminent death. She had also been hospitalized for days after the altercation as well
The trial court relied on illogical, contradictory and inconsistent evidence to convict and sentence the appellant.
“The appellant did not have malice aforethought as she did not take the weapon from the kitchen. She did not commence the attack and she had not shown any aggression towards the deceased prior to being threatened,” The lead defense lawyer accused the trial court of bias against the appellant because of certain statements that were made by the presiding judge before reviewing the evidence.
He called for leniency leading that “even if the conviction on the charge of murder was to stand, sentencing ought to have been adjusted to reflect the mitigating circumstances.”
The appellate court found the conviction of Kamande for murder was within the confines of the law, and there was no reason to interfere with the death penalty.
Upholding the decision of the lower court, the appellate panel of justices Hannah Okwengu, Mohammed Warsame and Jamilla Mohammed said the prosecution had met the burden of proving the charge of murder.
The killing happened in September, 2015 following a quarrel over text messages seen on his cellphone that revealed his medical history.
According to court documents Kamande on September 20, 2015, stabbed 22-year-old Farid multiple times on the chest, hands, legs, head, abdomen, back and shoulders. He died from his injuries.
“Having carefully examined the evidence on record, we find the conclusion that the appellant violently, intentionally and unlawfully killed the deceased inescapable,” ruled the judges.
The panel of appellate judges dismissed the self-defense argument as unbelievable, given the cogent and compelling evidence of the prosecution witnesses.
The evidence tendered by the prosecution showed that the appellant clearly acted with “malice aforethought, [considering], the nature of the weapon used, nature of injuries suffered by the deceased, the conduct, before, during and after the incident, and lastly the manner of use of the weapon,” the judges said.
The decision of the Appeal Court is significant because Kenya has not carried out executions since 1987. In that time frame the government has in commuted death sentences of thousands of death-row inmates convicts to life in prison.