Inside Jowie’s state-led legal struggle

Image: Jowie Irungu
Joseph Kuria Irungu, also known as Jowie, has initiated another legal challenge against the state, contesting the constitutionality of the death penalty for individuals convicted of murder. This marks his second legal endeavor aimed at securing early release, following a previous attempt to overturn his death sentence imposed by the High Court.

Returning to the High Court, Jowie filed a constitutional petition seeking to invalidate Section 379(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, arguing that it violates the constitutional rights of individuals sentenced to death, particularly by denying them bail pending appeal. Represented by his lawyer Andrew from Muge Law Advocates, Jowie asserts that this section is discriminatory and infringes upon the right to human dignity enshrined in Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution.


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Furthermore, Jowie contends that the death penalty imposed on him for the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani contravenes his fundamental right to life as protected by Article 26(1) of the Constitution. He seeks a declaration that all laws providing for the death penalty in Kenya are inconsistent with Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, to the extent that they permit or prescribe such punishment.

Arguing that the death penalty constitutes torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment prohibited by Article 25 of the Constitution, Jowie petitions for a declaration that his death sentence violates his non-derogable rights.

Jowie was sentenced to death on March 13 this year for the murder of Ms. Kimani. Judge Grace Nzioka, after careful consideration of the evidence, concluded that Jowie was the central figure in the murder and thus deserving of the death penalty. The court found that Jowie committed the murder in a premeditated manner and attempted to conceal evidence by burning his attire worn during the crime.


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Additionally, Jowie’s pre-sentence report, describing him as having a dual personality, influenced the court’s decision. Chief Inspector Maxwell Otieno’s testimony portraying Jowie as a dangerous individual further reinforced the sentencing.

In his legal battle, Jowie challenges the provision preventing death row convicts from seeking bail pending appeal, arguing that it is unjust, particularly when there is a strong likelihood of appeal success. Alongside this constitutional petition, Jowie has filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal against both his conviction and death sentence, hopeful that one of these legal avenues will secure his freedom and spare him from the death penalty.

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