The high court has awarded a school girl, who was stripped for a body search by the police officers and her pictures shared on social media in 2015, Sh 4 million in compensation for the gross misconduct that violated her rights and dignity.
The eighteen-year-old girl from Kanyama Secondary School in Karatina was among 45 high school students who made headlines in AugusJUt 2015 after the police intercepted them on board a hired matatu on their way home after schools closed for the August holiday and caught them smoking bhang, drinking alcohol and having sex.
The girl had hidden bhang and a matchbox in her underpants and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, under the care of her parents, after pleading guilty to the charges.
Photos of her being stripped by police officers circulated on social media and following a public outcry, the officers who subjected her to the demeaning ordeal were sent home.
JUSTICE MATIVO RULING ON SCHOOL GIRL STRIP-SEARCH CASE
In his ruling, Justice John Mativo said the police invaded her privacy and caused her mental anguish.
“I conclude that the search was illegal in that it violated the provisions of the Children’s Act, Article 53 of the constitution, the right to dignity and not be subjected to degrading treatment and international conventions protecting the rights of children and statutory provisions governing police conduct while searching women,” the judge said.
The judge, however, declined to quash her conviction, saying she should have appealed against the sentence or ask for a review.
Her counsel had also sought to have her sentence quashed and her court records expunged.
Days after the incident, the girl in a lawsuit filed jointly by her and a children rights lobby (CRADLE Children’s Foundation) demanded Sh 5 million as compensation from the State for the manner in which she was indecently treated.