A travesty of justice: Was he railroaded?

Yours truly is not a lawyer, neither was he in court during the trial. It is the aim of this post to look at this particular case from what was reported in the media and offer a defense for the young man.

First the details of the case.

David was charged with violently robbing his father while armed with a revolver and a knife. He stole a wallet containing Sh1,000, an ATM card, Visa Card, Alien Identity Card, two medical cards, three supermarket smart cards and a mobile phone all valued at Sh157,000.

and the decision of the court

I have considered that he is a first offender but also the fact that the offence he is charged with carries only one mandatory sentence. I will be imposing an illegal sentence to deviate from what the law says and, therefore, order him to suffer death.

the testimony by the father

Mr Mulready Tett testified that on the fateful day, his son called him to the living room where he found him with two other men. He noticed that his son was troubled and requested that they go outside to have a private talk and when they went back in the house, he requested the two to leave.

and the son’s response

the young Tett said that he was a victim of circumstances, that he was hijacked by the robbers who asked him at gunpoint to take them to his parents’ home and had no alternative but to comply.

I don’t know about you, but this case smells bad from the word go especially listening to what the adopted mother had to say

He used to claim for his share of property. Who is he? He is not even my own son. I only took care of him and in any case, I could have given him some property.

I am not privy to how the adoption was arranged, how they are related but I think there is more than meets the eye in this case. For one the sentence of the court defies the laws of natural justice. What good does society gain by the death sentence? How does the attempted theft of 157K warrant a death sentence? Why did the court dismiss the plea by the son that he was a victim of circumstances?

I believe a person acts as he does and that environment, training and temperament all play apart in someone’s behaviour. It would be useful for us to know under what circumstances David was brought up. His story has not been told in the whole of this. We have on the contrary the story of a once powerful mother complaining to be aggrieved while she sheds crocodile tears.

Anyone who receives death threats can go to the police and file a complaint. She says

He has always kept threatening the family, I had to restructure my security detail, change my routes because of the consistent death threats I always get from people hired by him to come and kill me.

It would be interesting to know if she ever reported such incidences to the police? Were this people arrested and what became of their cases? How did she tell her son had hired them or did they report this to her? And if they could report to her, they could also tell the police, why didn’t they report to the police they had been hired to kill the lady? This, to me, simply makes no sense.

I think the magistrate erred in sentencing David to hang. I think justice was not served and I hope that he files an appeal and gets his sentence commuted or revoked altogether.  And am I opposed to death penalty.


Tett son sentenced to death

The adopted child who would turn against his parents

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

20 thoughts on “A travesty of justice: Was he railroaded?

  1. john zande says:

    What an odd story


  2. Mordanicus says:

    Theft shouldn’t be a capital crime in the first place, and secondly judges should always have the discretion to sentence people to a lesser penalty than the maximum, taken the specific circumstances into account.


    • makagutu says:

      How do we even classify an offence as a capital one? I agree with you that the judges should have such discretion


      • Mordanicus says:

        “How do we even classify an offence as a capital one?”

        This is an important question, and it’s possible no such crimes might exists. Given the irrevocability of the death penalty, only the most dangerous criminals, who have committed the most heinous crimes, should be given the death penalty.


  3. What a weird story, Mak! I wonder if it had been clear if you had witnessed the trial: somehow I don’t think so.
    I have no idea what happened here, I can only add that I’m also against the death penalty. I think there are some people that should be locked up indefinitely for the threat they are to other people, but killing them serves no purpose and doesn’t provide justice in my view.


    • makagutu says:

      Hello friend,
      I don’t think there would much to be gleaned from being present at the trial.

      While I agree there are people who should be locked up to protect them from themselves and from society, I still think they are products of the same dangerous society. A society that rewards injustice, a society that rewards mediocrity, and thus by condemning them, the society condemns itself for having failed to bring up healthy citizens.


      • Mordanicus says:

        If we compare the USA with Western Europe, we see that the latter has much lower crime rates than the former. Overall, WE has higher standards of education, health care, social and labour laws than the USA. In general the best way to reduce crime is to improve society.


  4. violetwisp says:

    Wow, death sentence for attempted robbery! There is something very disturbing about the whole story, and the words of the adopted mother, and even the comments after the story.


  5. Daniela says:

    I could not quite believe what I was reading … sentenced to death for an attempted and by sound of it not even properly examined robbery! Putting aside my loathing of death penalty in any circumstances, this particular circumstances, as presented, most certainly present far more questions than they offer answers … such as why society tolerates such occurrences?


  6. racheljaber says:

    it was interesting to follow that story day by day and I agree with all of you, something doesn’t add up…well I know what. Either the kid’s attorney was bought or he was a paralegal…no lawyer in his right quest for justice would let that happen. Two, the investigative team shielded themselves behind witness proacry and let the words of her-all-mighty Betty Tet rule the court…why you may ask…very simple: 1. This is Kenya, at least we all now that 2. She has all the power to snare the not-so-just judicial system that rules this country 3. He was defenseless (guilty or not)…given that the facts don’t add up, how sure are we that it was not a frame up? How right can we be in assuming that one of them was in the offense? With what clarity can we buy into or dismiss the case as fair in trial or as a contempt of justice?…I know the answer…NONE. So am I right to say that the trial was as good as “innocent with guilt” or “guilt of innocence”? NO I am not…and that is just that…a case gone without a stand.


    • makagutu says:

      I think there is something we are not being told in this story. I hate to think he is going to rot in jail for attempted robbery while we have people in high office with more serious crimes to think about. Please let no one tell me the judiciary is reformed! Same old, same old


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