What is non-custodial sentence in children and what prompts such Court Rulings?

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By collins orono collinsorono@mtotonews.com

A Nyahururu Court on Tuesday sentenced a form three student 18-month non-custodial sentence after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his teacher.

Appearing before the Court on Tuesday, February 16, the student pleaded with Nyahururu Senior Resident Magistrate James Wanyanga to pardon him promising to work on his anger management.

Samuel a student at Murichu Secondary School in Nyandarua was nabbed January 18, 2021 after he rained blows and kicks on Mr John Gikonyo, the teacher on duty, for punishing him.

Gikonyo reportedly landed in trouble after he reprimanded Migwi for jumping the queue when they were being served lunch.

“When the court says a non-custodial sentence of 18 months it means that he will not be in a prison or any sort of institution but he shall serve the sentence while at home, away from prison and maybe they will be required to report to the children’s office maybe every week and maybe do some community service”. Said Ms Ndindi Ng’ang’a an advocate of the High Court and Founder Legal-Ease Africa

Non-custodial sentence for child offenders is among the recommendations of the children’s act. The diversion policy also recommends such kind of punishment on child offenders.

On whether giving children in conflict with the law a non-custodial sentence may pose a threat to the victims, Ndindi explained that, this depended on what provoked this child to hit the teacher “because a child can’t just wake up and beat someone”.

The learner also expressed remorse at what happened and said he would make it his personal responsibility to look for the teacher and apologise to him for the disrespecting him

“In such cases there are many factors to be considered; was he pushed to the limits, Is he a truant, “Because cases of truancy or bad behavior there is need for interventions from a children’s office, a child psychologist and even from their parents, “You need to find out what is the scenario at home, Is it a violent home, does he get parental guidance and care”. She added.

In children cases a lot of factors are usually considered because in many cases it’s not normal for a child to beat up someone without a provocation.

Child offenders are usually awarded non-custodial sentence as a way of ensuring that their right to education isn’t infringed.

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