A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officer who was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to kill his colleague at a military camp has been released.Â
Officer Matthew Kipkemboi Maiyo, who was serving at the KDF as a senior private officer, got his freedom after Justice Luka Kimaru found that the Court Martial erred in its findings.
According to the Judge, the prosecution failed to establish its case to the required standard of proof beyond any reasonable doubt that Maiyo committed a civilian offense of attempted murder.
MaiyoÂ had been arrested and charged before the Court Martial and was found guilty of attempting to murder his colleague and an alternative charge of unlawful discharge of ammunition.
According to the case, MaiyoÂ who was based at the military camp in Mandera County was assigned along with other soldiers to go rescue a military fuel tanker which had broken down.
Upon returning to the camp, Maiyo is reported to have headed to guard room to look for a rifle loaded with 30b rounds of ammunition that had been assigned to him and when he did not find it, he became upset leading to a bitter exchange with his colleague officer Said Abdi.Â
It was also reported that when he found his rifle, officers on the ground heard a sound of ammunition fired and when they went to check, they saw Maiyo aiming the rifle at Abdi.
The military court, therefore, found him guilty of committing the first offence and slapped him with a life imprisonment sentence, while in the second count he was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Disturbed by the decision, Maiyo moved to the High Court where he raised several grounds of appeal challenging his conviction and sentence.
In the appeal, Maiyo denied that he had any intentions to kill Abdi, adding that since he was working in an operation area where he was expected to be alert at all the time, the rifle was already cocked at the time of the accidental discharge.Â
In the judgment, the High Court noted that the shots fired by Maiyo were more out of frustration and work-related stress than an intention to kill.
However, the judge upheld a decision by the military court to have Maiyo dismissed from KDF for unlawful discharge of ammunition.