He rules that senior citizens are too frail to be a danger to society and that they are unlikely to reform.
Parliament should consider changing the law to allow courts to decide whether or not to send elderly people to jail, a judge has said. Making a ruling in the appeal of an 85-year-old man who had been sentenced to life in prison for defiling a minor, Justice John Mativo observed that courts should have the discretion in jailing elderly people as the compulsory sentences amounted to committing them to a slow death behind bars.Wilson Kipchirchir Koskei appeared not to comprehend what he was charged with and gave incoherent answers in his mother language.During the trial at the lower court, English was used and the proceedings translated into Kiswahili although he did not understand.
- Kamau Muthoni
- Posted on: 07th Feb 2019 00:00:00 GMT +0300
SEE ALSO :Bill through as MPs seek increased payAccording to the judge, jailing the elderly could constitute infringing on their right to get a fair and a proportionate punishment for an offence.“Keeping a person aged over 85 years in prison under the harsh conditions when he is not a danger even to himself is something that should prick the conscience of humanity and our entire criminal justice system. It is tantamount to sentencing such a person to a slow death,” ruled Justice Mativo.According to the judge, Parliament had the mandate to come up with laws, but it was the work of the Judiciary to give punishment to offenders on a case-to-case basis.Good intentions“Mandatory minimum sentences are the product of good intentions, but good intentions do not always make good policy; good results are also necessary. Parliament needs to ask itself, with respect to each crime, is justice best served by having legislators assign fixed penalties to that crime? Or should Parliament leave judges more or less free to tailor sentences to the aggravating and mitigating facts of each criminal case within a defined range?”