Man receives partial reprieve for trophy dealing without license
A 40-year-old man who had been ordered to pay a total of Sh. 40 million fines or serve life imprisonment for two counts has received partial reprieve after the High Court set aside the sentence on one count.
The first one was for being in possession and dealing in game trophy without a valid license from the Kenya Wildlife Service.
A Narok High Court upheld a sentence of Sh20 million fine or life imprisonments for being in possession of elephant tusks but quashed a similar sentence for dealing in the same trophy meted out on the appellant by a lower court.
In his judgment, Narok Resident Judge Justus Bwonwonga said the two charges of dealing and possession of game trophies were intertwined and the sentence on each of the two counts was double sentencing of the appellant.
Wilson Kuyoni had appealed against a judgment delivered by a Narok court in April last year.
He had been charged before the Narok Senior Resident Magistrate, Allan Temba Sitati with being in possession of one piece of elephant tusk weighing three kilogrammes, worth Sh. 300,000 without a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service in contravention of the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2013. He was accused of committing the offense on March 30, 2015 at Mariaranda area in Narok South.
The appellant had also been charged with dealing in the wildlife trophy without a license from KWS. He was ordered to pay a total of Sh. 40 million fines or serve life imprisonment for the two counts.
Kuyoni had been ordered to pay a fine of Sh.20million for each offense or life imprisonment for each count but instead of the paying a total of Sh. 40 Million, he will now be required to pay Sh.20Million or serve a life sentence for the offense of possession of the trophy.
The charges had earlier been viewed as separate offenses in a lower court, thus leading to the subjection of the accused to Sh. 40 million fines or life imprisonments.
In his appeal, Kuyoni had said he was convicted on evidence that did not meet the threshold but in his judgment, the judge refuted these claims and termed the evidence tendered in court as tangible and reliable.
He had argued that the evidence against him was flimsy due to shoddy investigation while the witnesses who testified against him earlier were his enemies and no proper explanation was offered in court to prove that he was in possession of the trophy.
Justice Bwonwonga however dismissed the second count of dealing in wildlife trophy against the appellant, terming the previous judgment double action. “The court hereby suspends the second count charge of dealing in wildlife trophy and sustained the first count charge of being in possession of wildlife trophy,” he ordered.