Republic v. C.W.

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The defendant was accused of the killing of her husband. She entered into a plea agreement to reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter. The deceased returned home on May 7, 2016, intoxicated and accused the defendant of infidelity. A violent domestic fight ensued and the defendant used a kitchen knife to fatally stab the deceased. The defendant was also injured by the deceased during the altercation. The defendant asked the court for a non-custodial sentence based on a number of mitigating circumstances including the fact that the defendant is the primary caregiver of her three children with the deceased, aged five, three, and one. Relatives and friends of the deceased confirmed that he was verbally and physically abusive to the defendant and the killing occurred in “the heat of the moment.” Furthermore, the defendant had no prior record, demonstrated remorse, and the deceased’s family and the community had forgiven her and were willing to help her raise her children. The High Court agreed that these factors merited a non-custodial status, adding that the defendant is both the accused and the victim, and was acting in self-defense even though she used excessive force. The High Court handed down a three-year non-custodial sentence. This case marks an important example of Kenyan courts treating victims of domestic violence with leniency where excessive force is used while defending themselves from their abuser.



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