Samuel Macharia Mwangi Stephen Giahuru Njagwara v Republic 2009 eKLR

Seat of court
Court jurisdiction
Date of opinion

On 6 of November 2005, Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers found 2 men, the current appellants, slaughtering a buffalo within the Ragati forest. Arresting them, they recovered a spear, 2 pangas, a snare and 2 bags. The appellants were charged with the aforesaid offences. However, the appellants denied the charges and gave a different version of events.
The appellants recounted how they apparently drove out their cows to the Hombe forest for grazing when suddenly hearing gunshots. Police officers appeared and forced them to sit down, take off their shoes and were then subsequently tortured. Later, the police officers took them to the rangers camp, where the rangers supposedly shot at something in the bush, which turned out to be the buffalo they were then ordered to chop up and carry to the police vehicle.
The appellants were charged in court after which they lodged their instant appeals, which have been consolidated.
When the appeals came up for hearing, the learned Senior Principal State Counsel conceded that the charge sheet did not disclose an offence known under the law even if the provisions of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act were to be invoked. The charge sheet talked of poaching whereas the particulars thereof talk of hunting. The learned counsel appearing for both appellants wholly associated with these submissions of the learned Senior Principal State Counsel.
Court reasoning:
In agreement with submissions by both counsels, the judge reasoned that the appellants were found slaughtering a buffalo while however been charged with illegal hunting. This would imply that there are some forms of hunting that are authorized and or legal. The charge sheet remains silent on whether the appellants were authorized hunters, as well as whether they were hunting illegally, making them poachers. As such, the appellants should have been charged under Section 47 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act - however this is dependent on individuals action by the Justice Minister. The judge concluded that the sentence imposed [30 years in prison] as aforesaid was "clearly illegal and definitely calls for my intervention". The convictions is quashed and the penalty for the offences charged is a fine of KES 20,000 or a prison term of up to three years. (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)

Language of document
Reference number
No. 587 of 2006