2 Women Jailed for Plucking Weeds at Rich Man's Farm

  • The Embu Law Courts where two women were convicted of plucking weeds at the Frankenstein farm without permission on June 29, 2020.
    The Embu Law Courts where two women were convicted of plucking weeds at the Frankenstein farm without permission on June 29, 2020.
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  • Two women, 45-year-old Faith Muthoni and Purity Wambogo aged 42, were sentenced to serve two-months non-custodial sentences after they pleaded guilty of trespassing into the Frankenstein Farm in Embu and picking black-jack (a local weed) to feed their rabbits.

    The two who hail from Kathangari Village in Embu North pleaded their case before Senior Resident Magistrate Tony Kwambai and asked for leniency.

    According to court records, the two were accused of trespassing into the restricted farm on June 29, and proceeded to pluck the weed without the owner's permission.

    During the hearing, the prosecution presented the bale of black-jack, which was found in the possession of the accused, before the court as evidence.

    The bale of black-jack that was presented as evidence at the Embu Law Courts on June 30, 2020.
    The bale of black-jack that was presented as evidence at the Embu Law Courts on June 30, 2020.
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    The prosecutor further revealed that the women were found plucking the weeds and bundling them in a heap by one of the farm managers, who then reported the matter to the Manyatta Police Station.

    The two were then arrested and arraigned in court.

    In their defence, the accused informed the court that they only picked the black-jack to feed their rabbits, arguing that they did not intend to cause any harm to anyone.

    Upon ruling that they serve out a 2-months non-custodial sentence, Magistrate Kwambai warned them and urged that they stay out of trouble lest he is forced to see them finish their sentences in jail.

    In March 2017, the National Council on the administration of justice task force on Criminal Justice Reform reviewed the laws governing criminalisation and punishment on petty offences in Kenya over the years. 

    “Kenya Criminal Justice system is at a historical time, the criminalisation of petty offences is the main cause of congestion in the Prisons countrywide," Chief Justice David Maraga observed at the time.

    When someone is convicted in court, the judge can now give them a non-custodial sentence which is an alternative to a prison sentence. They could get a fine or need to do community service. Sometimes they will be supervised by a probation officer for a certain specified time.

    The latest Embu ruling revived the infamous High Court ruling in Siaya County where two men were sentenced to six years imprisonment after being found guilty of stealing four chicken.

    Fredrick Otieno and his co-accused George Onyango were charged for committing the act on December 1, 2014, at Lundha sub-location in Gem Sub County in Siaya.

    In his ruling Senior Resident Magistrate, Jared Sani found both guilty of the burglary act contrary to section 304 (2) of the Penal Code.

    “I have considered their mitigation, however, I sentence them each to three years for stealing and three years for burglary charges that will run consecutively,” ruled the magistrate.

    The accused had pleaded guilty but requested leniency saying they had to take care of their families.

    File image of a court gavel
    File image of a court gavel
    File