Nduta v. Republic

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The appellant appealed his conviction and sentence for injuring his wife, who he inherited according to customary practice after her husband died in 2002. On November 8, 2013, his wife attempted to pack clothes to visit her children in Nairobi. The appellant refused to let his wife travel and threatened to murder her. The appellant cut both of his wife’s arms using a panga (machete), but she managed to escape to her nephew’s home. The nephew saw the appellant armed with the panga and a knife before taking his aunt to the police station and later the hospital. The appellant was convicted of Grievous Harm Contrary to Section 234 of the Penal Code and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to consider that this was a mere domestic issue that could have been resolved by village elders. The appellant asked for a non-custodial sentence citing the fact he was an elderly man (78 years old). The High Court upheld the conviction and the sentence, noting, “The appellant’s actions amounted to violence against women. It is my view a gender-based violence which the court cannot condone or tolerate and let perpetrators of violence against women and girls go unpunished.” This case demonstrates the relationship between the criminal courts in Kenya and customary law.



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