Mathew Masinge

THE High Court has issued a warrant of liberation for a 14-year-old boy who was sentenced to five years imprisonment for rape.

The State said the teenager raped the minor, aged four, when she visited him in his room looking for her friend.

He was convicted of the rape and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

In his defence, the teen did not deny seeing the complainant but denies any sexual act with the complainant.

High Court judges Cathrine Bachi-Mzawazi and Philda Muzofa said the sentence of five years was unqualified.

“An effective five years imprisonment on a fourteen-year-old child is in conflict with the law.

“To begin with, it was not much about the imprisonment period but the fact that a court of law, can mero mutu send a child to a formal prison without considering or taking heed of the laws governing the sentencing of young persons, children or juveniles in conflict with Criminal law,” said Justice Bachi-Mzawazi.

“Further, the court did not state whether the juvenile, as it were, was sent for assessment before a probation officer as required by the law governing juvenile delinquents.

“No proof of a probation report in respect to the accused was attached but only that for the minor victim of the offence.

“It is thus imperative that the court, which is looked up to, as a neutral arbiter or umpire should accord equal treatment to both the offender and the victim.

“The conviction is confirmed.  Due to the numerous mis-directions, in regard to the sentence, the sentence is set aside and substituted with five years imprisonment wholly suspended for two years on condition the accused does not within that period commit any offence involving sexual assault, rape or indecent assault for which upon conviction he is sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.

“A warrant of liberation is forthwith issued.”

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