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Rugby players convicted of rape to know their fate today

Friday August 16 2019

Rugby player Lawrence Frank Wanyama

Rugby player Lawrence Frank Wanyama at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on July 12, 2019 over the rape case against him and fellow rugby player Alex Mahaga Olaba. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The two rugby players who were convicted of gang-raping a musician on February 10, 2018 will know their fate on Friday.

After hearing mitigation from Alex Mahaga Olaba and Lawrence Frank Wanyama on August 9, Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku postponed the sentencing to today.

Through their lawyer Jimmy Simiyu, the two said they regretted the incident and pleaded with the court for a non-custodial sentence.

The lawyer noted that Mr Olaba is 23 years old, Mr Wanyama 22 and the complainant 24, and that they had not planned to meet her at her birthday party that night.

They were all drunk, he said, adding the woman opted to spend the night at Seefar Apartments in Highrise, Nairobi, after getting drunk.

"REMORSE"

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The lawyer further said the players were from humble backgrounds and that the complainant had tried to extort money from them.

Mr Simiyu also noted that the accused dropped out of school to attend court in the case that has gone on for more than one year.

He also told the court that one of the Strathmore University students had secured a scholarship at a Canadian University while the other had entered into a contract with a club in Helsinki, Finland.

“We request a non-custodial sentence as they have shown remorse. A custodial sentence will dash their dreams,” he said, adding his clients played a significant role when Kenya won the Rugby Sevens series in Singapore in 2016.

Both players have represented the national seven-a-side team, Shujaa. Mr Olaba has also represented the national 15-a-side team, Simbas.

Mr Olaba and Mr Wanyama started their rugby careers at Strathmore University before switching to Kenya Harlequins.

15 YEARS

In reply, prosecutor Evelyn Onungo noted the victim's state and that the two players should have conducted themselves with decorum, especially since they are national rugby players.

She urged the court to go for the maximum penalty provided for in the law.

The two are staring at more than 15 years in prison.

Section 10 of the Sexual Offences Act says any person found guilty of gang-rape is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years.

The term, may be enhanced to imprisonment for life.