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Man found with elephant tusks gets 1 year

02 October 2013, 16:26 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A 21-year-old man who had been accused of possessing three elephant tusks was on Wednesday sentenced to one-year jail term by a Nyeri court.

Appearing before Resident Magistrate Vincent Nyakundi, Robert Muriithi Gathoni was found guilty of possessing game trophies worth KES 50 000 on December 18th last year within Mt. Kenya forest.

The court heard that Muriithi was arrested after the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers received information that he had some tusks that he intended to sell.

The officers later laid a trap for the convict where one of them posed as a buyer leading to his arrest and recovery of the said tusks.

Muriithi has been denying the offence all through, but informed court that his family had been permitted to farm within the forest during his submission.

He added that the charges were framed by the officers to divert attention from the real culprits.

The magistrate however dismissed his claims saying the officers were to gain nothing by imposing charges on him.

“The accused did not provide any evidence to indicate that his family had permission to do farming in the forest. The prosecution had proved the case against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt,” the magistrate said while delivering the judgment.

However, in mitigation, Muriithi prayed for a reasonable sentence claiming that he was the sole bread winner for his family, but the court declined his appeal on grounds that the offence of killing wild animals was serious and it called for a deterrent sentence.

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