Sunday, 28 July 2013
Kenya - Man jailed 20 years for marrying 14-year old girl
At a time when the news of underage marriage is front, right and centre in the Nigerian media and public consciousness, the Court of Appeal in Kenya confirmed on Friday, a 20-year jail sentence handed to a man who “married” a 14-year-old girl in 2010.
In 2010, the man, Ezekiel Sonkoyo was found guilty of defiling the Form One student by a Kilgoris court and he has been appealing since then, but on Friday, he lost his second and final appeal seeking to quash the sentence.
In fact, Sokonyo’s case was more chilling because he took the girl who was a student at Siria Secondary School from her home on August 17, 2010 to Eldoret, without the consent of her parents. When the father of the girl traced his daughter two months later, she was found living with Sokonyo as his wife. Then he defended himself by saying that although he knew her real age, he had sexual relations with her because he intended to marry her.
However, Lady Justice Ruth Sitati, who heard the first appeal, quoted the Sexual Offences Act, saying, given her age, the girl could not legally give consent. Justice Sitati upheld the sentence of 20 years given by the magistrate’s court in January last year.
Not satisfied, he moved to the Court of Appeal sitting in Kisumu and which constituted of Justices Onyango Otieno, Festus Azangalala and Sankale ole Kantai. Again, the judges upheld the ruling of the lower courts.