Women and Justice: Court: High Court of Kenya

Domestic Case Law

M.N. v. Republic High Court of Kenya (2015)


Abortion and reproductive health rights

The appellant, M.N., was charged with attempt to procure abortion, contrary to Section 158 of the penal code, which provides the “any person who, with intent to procure miscarriage of a woman, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means whatever is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.” Four witnesses testified for the prosecution, including complainant, who was 15 years old, told the court that the appellant, who was her teacher, invited her to his home on several occasions and made advances at her. She also testified that they eventually had sexual intercourse, which led to her pregnancy, and that the appellant provided a “doctor”, who was never arrested or charged, to procure an abortion. The complainant’s grandmother, one of the witnesses, testified that she also observed the “doctor”, but gave a different account of his actions than the complainant’s. The complainant later gave birth to a healthy baby. The appellant denied having a sexual relationship with the complainant and attempting to procure an abortion. The court held that the trial court convicted appellant based on its suspicion that he was responsible for the complainant’s pregnancy and that he provided the “doctor” who attempted to procure an abortion, but that suspicion was insufficient to sustain the conviction. The High Court thus set aside the conviction and sentence.



Republic v. Ratemo High Court of Kenya (2018)


Acid violence, Domestic and intimate partner violence, Femicide

The accused appeared at his former girlfriend’s kitchen window from outside and poured an acid-like substance on her. The substance was later determined to be sulfuric acid. The victim suffered first and second degree burns over 60% of her body, which resulted in a complication in the form of pneumonia in both lungs and caused her death. The court found that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and convicted the accused of murder. The court decided not to impose the death penalty and instead sentenced the accused to 15 years imprisonment because he was a first-time offender, it was an “offence of passion”, he was 22 years old, and he had a one-month-old child.