By Asher Omondi, Tuko
A man in Laikipia county has 14 days to appeal a court ruling that handed him five years in jail.
Hillary Biwot Lagat was found guilty for being in possession of an elephant tusk by Nyahururu chief magistrate Charles Obulutsa on Thursday, May 21. The court heard the 26-year-old was found with the tusk in 2018 on the Sipili–Kinamba without a permit, Daily Nation reported. The game trophy was estimated to be worth KSh 400,000 at the time of his arrest.
Obulutsa noted the court was satisfied with the evidence that was presented before the court and that was supported by the submissions from both the accused and prosecution.
“The prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and the court proceed to convict the accused as charged,” said the magistrate. In mitigation, Langat pleaded for leniency saying he was a first time offender and that he had been injured and beaten by the rangers during the arrest. He told court he was his family’s sole breadwinner thus sentencing him would put the dependents in unprecedented suffering.
“I am pleading with the court to be lenient to me because I was also beaten and injured during the time of the arrest by the officers,” he pleaded.
Elephants and rhinos are some of the most poached animals in Kenya for their tusks. Statistics released by the Kenya Wildlife Service in 2019 showed the number of poached elephants was 384 in 2012 and 38 in 2018. The report according to Xinhua also indicated poachers killed 30 rhinos in 2012 and another four in 2018.