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Girl in matatu drugs case takes on police, to seek Sh5mn

GLADYS-WAMAITHA-DUNCAN-OKUBNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – The lawyers of the secondary school girl arrested with bhang while on a joyride in a matatu want to file a petition against the Inspector General (IG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for the way she was treated during and after her arrest.

Speaking to Capital FM News, the advocate Gladys Wamaitha stated that the IG bore the ultimate responsibility in terms of how suspects are treated and the conduct of police officers had an impact on his office.

She further wants the court to compel the DPP to publish regulations governing the way suspects who are female students are treated.

“We will be seeking for the whole criminal process to be quashed with respect to this young girl. She is a vulnerable person. Was the criminal process explained to her? Did the search that was conducted on her meet the provisions of the law with respects to searching a female and a young girl? Was she given the right to counsel?” she posed.

She indicated that the law grants the State responsibility to protect the rights of the vulnerable.

“Under the Constitution, the State has an obligation to protect the rights of vulnerable groups and in this instance, it is a young girl. She was taken photographs while wearing school uniform so that also has to be taken into account. When she was in court, were her rights protected. How did they arrive at the issue of probation? Was she given an opportunity to mitigate?” she posed.

Co-counsel Duncan Okubasu echoed her sentiments and stated that they will also be seeking to have the sentence of the girl quashed in addition to demanding a Sh5 million compensation from the State for the way she was indecently treated and exposed on social media.

“The main petition is against the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions. This is because the Inspector General of Police is a duty bearer of some of these rights in the Constitution like the rights of arrested persons. He is the investigating organ and he bears the duty to ensure those rights are respected and protected,” he said.

The lawyers also explained that the impact of her exposure especially in social media had devastated the entire family.

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Wamaitha said that the father of the girls was moved to tears during the hearing of her case in which she was sentenced to 18 months probation.

She pointed out that they will now be seeking to quash the sentence and at the same time wants the court to expunge her records.

“When we spent some time with the family, you could see the total devastation. I have never seen a man cry and he was moved to that point but he had to stand strong on behalf of his daughter and wife to endure the whole situation,” she said.

Okubasu stressed the need for fair treatment of the girl whom he says is now the focus of widespread criticism.

“When we interviewed the lady, we actually discovered that she did not have this cannabis by herself but had been given by someone to throw and then in the process hid it. Will also think that in the offense that she was convicted of that of possession which connotes ownership, she would not have lied had it been that she had the machinery of defence through a lawyer,” he said.

The girl was among 45 high school students arrested for smoking bhang, drinking and having sex in a matatu.

READ: Girl with bhang on matatu joyride gets 18 months probation

The girl had allegedly hidden bhang and a matchbox in her underpants.

The 33-seater matatu was intercepted on the highway by officers from the Sagana Traffic Police base.

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