Delivering her ruling, Milimani Chief Magistrate, Wendy Kagendo, stated that the court had found the accused guilty of the offence of shoplifting and hence the sentence.
The sentence was handed to the man after he pleaded guilty to the offence of stealing 5 kgs of rice, 5 litres of cooking oil, 2 kgs of sugar, and tea leaves, all valued at Ksh3,165.
Justice Kagendo’s decision was received with mixed reactions, with a majority of Kenyans terming it as harsh and unrealistic for a man who was trying to fend for his family.
A number of Kenyans opined that her ruling was an illustration of Kenya’s failed justice system, especially after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, postponed the prosecution of politicians facing graft charges to until after the August 9 polls.
However, kenyagist.com established that the sentence was handed to the man as he was a repeat offender. According to the charge sheet, the suspect had been caught shoplifting from the same retail store on April 3.
In the first incident, he was bailed out by a well-wisher who paid for the items he had attempted to sneak past the supermarket security without paying for them.
Despite being bailed out, he was taken to the Central Police Station and was subsequently released after pleading with the Officer Commanding Station (OCS).
While appearing in court today (Wednesday, April 13), he pleaded for mercy, arguing that he was a father trying to fed for his family after losing his job.
He was, however, unable to furnish the court with details of the job he had purportedly lost. The Chief Magistrate declined his prayers, citing insincerity in his request and explanations.
Justice Kagendo added that the man was simply a repeat offender who was among individuals that targeted the store. She noted that she had handled similar theft incidences concerning that particular retail outlet.
“This is a clear indication that the supermarket is prone to theft by people who are reaping from where they have not sown,” ruled Justice Kagendo.
The case has also drawn the attention of Azimio La Umoja presidential aspirant, Raila Odinga, who has called for the unconditional release of the accused.
“Let him be released unconditionally! Criminals are now getting a reprieve to campaign freely, while petty offenders are being jailed. Let the courts get their priorities right, for once, you can’t jail a man for trying to feed his family,” stated Raila.