Success Story- Meru Prison Justice Centre

Access to JusticeFebruary 22, 20180 CommentsKituo Cha Sheria

Meru GK Prison Justice BannerArticle 48 of the Constitution of Kenya specifically advocates for access to justice for all. Kituo Cha Sheria has established Prison Justice Centres that are managed and run by trained prison paralegals to assist them self-represent in court, offer legal advice to the other inmates, educating them on criminal law and guiding them on how to confidently represent themselves in Court and empower the entire prison community. Kituo has played a big role in supervising these centres and providing technical assistance in legal matters that need the attention of an advocate. To date, Kituo has established Prison Justice Centres at Shimo La Tewa Men & Women Prisons, Lang’ata Women’s Prison, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kodiaga, Nyeri Main (King’ong’o) G.K. Prison, Kakamega GK Prison and Meru GK Prison. As a result, inmates and Prison Officers have been able to offer legal aid services to inmates and from 2010 to date 10,000 + inmates have been released following interventions by trained paralegals. The Prison justice centers have significantly contributed to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.

This is a Success Story from the Meru G.K. Prison Justice Centre…



Case background

Douglas Muthaura Ntoribi was charged for the offence of robbery with violence contrary to Section 296 (2) of the Penal Code.  The action saw the attacked victim sustain a head injury from a cut and loss of Ksh. 500. He was convicted by the trial court sitting at Nkubu in 2005 and sentenced to suffer death.  He lodged an appeal (Criminal appeal number 118 of 2005) before Meru High Court, and on 29th July 2008, the same was dismissed. He soldiered on and filed Criminal Appeal No. 317 of 2008 before the court of appeal. That appeal suffered the same fate as the initial one at the High Court on 30th April 2014 with both judges citing that the applications did not meet the required threshold.

Douglas undergoes Kituo paralegal training…

Back In 2016, Kituo cha Sheria conducted paralegal training at Meru Main Prison, thirty (30) inmates underwent the paralegal training and were awarded certificates upon successful completion. Douglas Muthaura who was among the trainees testified how the knowledge he gained from the training helped him write a comprehensive appeal that saw the judge finally rule in his favor.

Case Determination        

The court ruled that the circumstances of the case did not call for death sentence or life imprisonment. In that regard death sentence was replaced by a 15 years imprisonment, sentencing running from the date of conviction dated 8th July 2005.

The Court’s decision was arrived at given that he had already spent almost twelve years in prison and yet, the victim of crime was treated of his head injury and immediately discharged from the hospital.

The Court in its ruling posed a question or rather wondered why such an applicant cannot reform and challenged the prison system to come up with effective rehabilitation models for convicts falling in the bracket of the applicant.

Justice Said Chitembwe cited the Supreme Court decision in MURUATETU v REP (2017) where mandatory death sentence was declared unconstitutional. He further opined that, High Courts are duty bound to consider cases where litigants have already been sentenced to suffer death and that, the consideration should not be limited to murder cases only.


Kituo Cha Sheria

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