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Nimule court frees 20-year-old death-row convict


Magai Matiop after the court verdict in Nimule on Thursday. Photo credit: Curtesy

The high court in Nimule has freed an inmate previously sentenced to death after serving a 5-year jail term.

The convict, Magai Matiop 20, was sentenced to death in 2017 for killing his cousin. But on Thursday the court found that Magai was only 15 years old when he committed the act and therefore, was not liable for the initial ruling according to the laws of the country.

Magai Matiop Ngong was found guilty of killing his cousin who was involved in a fight with his friend in 2017.

In an appeal retrial, his death sentence was reduced to ten years imprisonment due to what the Nimule high court ruled was unpremeditated murder.

But the Supreme Court in August 2021, presided by Judge Chan Reec Madut decided to set aside the death sentence imposed on Matiop to allow for another retrial.

The Chief Justice then referred the accused – Magai to a medical officer to assess whether he was a juvenile or an adult at the time he committed the murder crime.

Judge Chan Reec argued there was no medical opinion which could be used to proof Matiop’s age.

On Wednesday, an age assessment presented to the high court in Nimule indicated, Matiop committed the crime when he was a juvenile.

The high court then sentenced him to five years in jail which he already served by 2022.

Matiop was also fined him half a million pounds and 51 cows as blood compensation to the deceased’s family in accordance with the customary law.

“Magai was a Juvenile in 2017 when he committed the offence and then the Judge found him guilty of murder under section 206.”

“Magai was sent to five years imprisonment starting 7th May 2017 and he also ordered Magai to pay a fine 500,000 ssp as blood compensation according to customary law and one Cow to the relatives of the deceased”, Geoffrey Victor the defense lawyer explained on Thursday.



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