In a landmark ruling, the Meru High Court has handed a probation sentence to a woman who has been in custody since December 29, 2021, for killing a man who raped her.
Betty Liona, 21, met Jackson Kirimi, now deceased, on one evening in March 2021. Karimi, who she had severally told that she was not interested in his romantic advances.
Kirimi overpowered and raped her but she chose to sit on it, never to report the rape case to the authorities. Several months later, the two met again – in December 2021.
During the December 8, 2021 ordeal, the two bumped into each other at a pub and Liona began shouting that she had spotted a man who had raped her earlier in the year.
In the commotion, she snatched a sword from Karimi’s belt, stabbed him in the chest, and vanished. Karim was rushed to Isiolo Referral Hospital where he passed on three days later.
Liona was arrested and charged with murder which was later reduced to manslaughter after entering a Plea Agreement.
The defence counsel pleaded with the court for a non-custodial sentence, urging the court to consider what transpired and the circumstances of the attack.
The deceased’s family differed sharply with the request, saying that a non-custodial sentence would be far from what they expected from the court.
In a report by the Probation Officer as requested by the court, Liona was described as a young, single mother of one with no prior criminal record and recommended a probation order.
In his ruling, Justice Edward Muriithi said that the circumstances of the killing lowers the charge from murder to manslaughter while also reducing the blame on the accused.
Justice Muriithi handed her a two-year prison sentence. He however noted that she had been in custody for a year and seven months since her arrest on December 19, 2021.
“There shall, therefore, be an order for the release of the accused to be placed on probation unless she is otherwise lawfully held,” Justice Muriithi said in his ruling.
Liona was also handed a three-year probation sentence dated August 16, 2023, which she will now serve.