Thursday, May 07, 2009

ARISTOCRAT GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER

File photo of Thomas Cholmondeley arriving at court in Nairobi in 2005
Thomas Cholmondeley was acquitted in a previous murder case

A white Kenyan aristocrat has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a poacher on his estate in 2006.

A judge in Nairobi ruled Thomas Cholmondeley did not murder Robert Njoya in May 2006, but had shot him.

Mr Cholmondeley had denied murder, saying he had shot at poachers' dogs in a case attracting huge media attention.

The 40-year-old was acquitted of murdering a Maasai ranger in 2005 - a ruling that stoked racial tension in the East African country.

Much of Kenya's most fertile land was given to white settlers during the colonial era and this remains the case 46 years after independence - a fact resented by many Kenyans.

High Court Justice Muga Apondi read out his 320-page verdict to a packed courtroom in the Kenyan capital.

"I find as a fact that it was the accused who had shot the deceased resulting in his death," he said.

"In view of the above analysis I hereby find which I do, that the accused did not have any malice aforethought to kill the deceased."

He said he had therefore decided Mr Cholmondeley should be acquitted of the murder charge, but found guilty of manslaughter.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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