Court awards 4 million shillings compensation to student stripped by police


High court has awarded Sh.4 million to a student who was stripped naked and searched inappropriately by police officers after being arrested.

The  police had arrested the students along Karatina Nairobi road after a rip off from members of the public who alleged that the students were intoxicated, some engaged in sex and was playing very loud music.
Justice John Mativo declared that the manner in which the police strip searched the petitioner and other students was a gross violation of the statutory provisions governing conduct of police while searching women.
The judge in his view held that the 4th respondent inspector Agnes Magiri and and 5th respondent Police constable Ann Ogindo violated the statutory provisions governing conduct of police while searching a woman.
“I find and hold that their actions violated the rights of the student in that they failed to act in the best interest of the petitioner as provided under the children’s Act and constitutional right to human dignity, freedom and security and right to privacy,”  ruled Justice Mativo.
The judge also declared that the fourth respondent, Inspector Agnes Magiri’s conduct of searching the student in presence of male officers and/or other students and members of the public and photographing her was a gross violation of the law and infringement of her constitutional right to dignity, privacy and her right to be subjected to degrading treatment.
The judge said that the petitioners had claimed a sum of Sh.7million as compensation but it was not clear how that amount was arrived at adding that there was no serious argument in the submissions to support it.
“Considering the nature of violations and bearing in mind the fact that it may not be easy to quantify infringement of fundamental rights in a case of this nature, I find that the award of a global sum of 4 million would be reasonable in the circumstances,” said Mativo.
The judge also ordered that the above sum shall attract interests at court rates from date of filing suit until payment in full.
He however refused the order of judicial review seeking to quash the conviction and sentence of the petitioner in Baricho Criminal Case No.1262 of 2015 on grounds that the law provides for right of appeal or revision against the said decision.
The respondents in the matter include the two police officers, Inspector General of police, the Attorney General, and the Director of public prosecutions.
Independent Medical Lega Unit (IMLU) was enjoined as an interested party while the Redress Trust was an Amicus Curiae.
Posting and wide circulation of her nude images in the press and social media caught the attention of the public and Human Rights Crusaders to the extent that it overshadowed the seriousness of the offense and the conduct of the students.
After the arrest, the police recovered bang hidden in her undergarments and was detained overnight.
She was charged the following day with the offense of being in possession of cannabis sativa.
She pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced to 18 months probation.
The student said that when the police stopped their bus and got in, a male student gave her some folded substance to hide for him.
At the police patrol base, the police stripped her blouse, lifted her skirt and pulled her underwear  exposing her private parts in breach of her privacy.
She added that posting her nudes in the media caused her psychological torture, embarrassment, seclusion, poor concentration in studies, public ridicule, deprivation of privacy and fears and fears that her photographs may be used for pornography.