The decision by a Kisumu court to send 24-year-old woman to jail for 15 years for defiling a 16-year-old boy has left Kenyans online infuriated.
Judith Wandera was handed the sentence by a Kisumu Magistrate’s court after she was found guilty of molesting the Class Seven boy on various dates.
In one of the court sessions, Ms Wandera admitted to committing the crime, but defended herself saying she had no knowledge that the boy was a minor due to his bodily complexion.
“We met in April 2016 on one evening at a drinking joint in Kondele. He even offered to buy me drinks and settle the bill before we exchanged phone contacts and started dating,” she told the court. “The boy had dreadlocks when we met, but after being taken to juvenile prison, and he was shaven, I was surprised to see how young he looked when he came to testify,” she said.
However, Kenyans took to the social media to decry the harsh sentence imposed on Wandera, who didn't have an attorney or a witness during the case.
The group has even expressed plans of setting up a PayBill number to raise cash for hiring a lawyer for her to appeal. One user by the name, Kamotho Waiganjo, termed the sentence as “unjust and offensive” and called for change in law that defines who an adult is.
Wandera was found to have contravened Section 8 (1) of the Sexual Offences Act, which states that a "person who commits an act which causes penetration with a child is guilty of an offence termed defilement."
Sub-sections (4) of the same act stipulate that a person who commits an "offence of defilement with a child between sixteen and eighteen years is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years."
A legal firm, Dome and Kegoro advocates, has since offered to file an appeal for the sentence on behalf of Ms Wandera.
“Take notice that Judith Khayosa Wandera, the appellant being dissatisfied with the judgment of the chief magistrate… intends to appeal to the High Court of Kenya against the judgment,” read the notice in part.