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Kenya enraged by aristocrat's sentence

A KENYAN judge yesterday sentenced the grandson of an English baron to eight months in prison for killing a black man on his vast estate, a significantly lower penalty than the maximum he faced of life in prison. Protesters in court shouted in outrage as the judgment was read.

Thomas Cholmondeley was convicted of manslaughter last week for the 2006 shooting of a 37-year-old black poacher. He had initially been charged with murder and has been in prison since his May 2006 arrest.

High Court Judge Muga Apondi reduced the charge to manslaughter on May 7, saying Cholmondeley showed no malice or intent when he shot Robert Njoya.

"I do believe deeply that the process has humbled the accused person," Apondi said yesterday. "In view of the total circumstances, I herby wish to impose a light sentence."

The shooting was the second time in just over a year that Cholmondeley had shot a black man dead on his vast, largely ungated farm. Charges were dropped in the first shooting case amid accusations of high-level government intervention, enraging Kenyans.

Judge Apondi was interrupted by several traditionally dressed local Masaai people who began shouting and waving banners, denouncing Cholmondeley and demanding justice for the families of the two men he had shot.

The prosecution said it would consider appealing against the sentence.


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