NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – The school girl whose semi-nude pictures, taken during a police search, were circulated online has sued the Inspector General of Police.
She is seeking Sh7 million in damages for the violation of her right to privacy and human dignity.
Together with CRADLE-The Children Foundation, she’s also petitioned the High Court to have her possession conviction quashed arguing that she was not accorded legal representation and so pleaded guilty to the charge without fully understanding it.
Until the suit is determined, she’s applied to have her conviction and sentence – of 18 months probation – suspended under a certificate of urgency.
Justice Weldon Korir on Friday certified the application for conservatory orders as urgent and directed that an inter-partes hearing be held on Tuesday once the respondents; the Inspector General, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General, are served.
The school girl also wants the police officers complicit in the search and exposure of her private parts, “in the presence of fellow female and male students, male and female police officers and the public,” and evidently in the glare of cameras given the eventual distribution of her photos while in that vulnerable state, brought up on criminal charges.
The police officers who took her into custody, she states in an affidavit submitted to the court, appeared intent on causing her embarrassment and did not take into consideration the mitigating circumstances leading up to her arrest.
She testifies that a boy who was seated next to her on the Nairobi bound Public Service Vehicle they were arrested in, asked her to hide the rolls of bang, snuff and match box that were later found in her possession.
“She panicked after the police directed the vehicle to the police station and in the course hid the match box and some papers into her underclothes.
“When they reached the station she was questioned irately by the police woman who did not give her a chance to remove what she was hiding but instead pulled her blouse and lifted her skirt and pulled her underwear exposing her vagina before males and females that were now looking,” her suit papers testify.
The form-four student also wants a declaration that her prosecution and sentencing were unlawful on the grounds that no analysis certificate was presented to the court verifying that she was actually in possession of banned substances.
The petitioner was among 37 students aboard a PSV when it was flagged down by police for blaring music in Sagana on August 5 and found to have been engaged in immoral behaviour while on their way to Nairobi, having closed school for the August holidays.