NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug10 – The State is seeking more time to continue their investigations into the alleged involvement of three Stephjoy students in an arson attack that left three of their colleagues dead.
State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki told Justice Ngenye Macharia, the police require a further 14 days to gather more evidence and stated that the three boys will be placed in a separate section of the Tigoni Police Station that is set aside for children.
Mwaniki pointed out that this period will enable the police to interview some students from the school and indicated that should the three be released, they would intimidate their colleagues who were traumatised by the incident.
“The reason why we are requesting for the 14 days for the three accused persons to be detained at the Tigoni Police Station after the incident is that the parents of the other children came and collected them the same night and took them to their respective homes. My lady, these children are spread all over the country and we require the said time to go to their respective homes,” she stated.
The High Court will on Monday afternoon make a ruling on the application.
Defense counsel representing one of the boys argued that no charges had been proffered against his client and that he had already been detained for seven days and a further 14 days would go against his fundamental rights.
“The children must be brought before court and be informed of the charges brought against them. The other provision is Section 187 of the Children’s Act that provides that the welfare of a child must always be taken into consideration,” he said.
His arguments were reinforced by another lawyer acting for two of the accused who contended that the suspects were minors and should not be treated as adults.
“The reasons advanced are not enough to interfere with provisions of the Constitution. The students are also being confined in cells together with other adults. We have confirmed that. What Tigoni Police Station has and we have visited it together with the parents are cubicles that have not doors and they have been subjected to ridicule and to all manner of insults,” he said.
He stressed that the three boys need to be placed in a children’s centre so that their rights were not infringed upon.
“We are only praying that if they have to be detained, let them be detained in accordance with the law in children’s homes. They should be detained in a children’s remand centre and not in a police station. In the alternative, the parents are willing to give whatever terms of bond to this court to have them released to them during the time of investigations. Should the police make up their minds that they want to charge them, they will be availed,” he stated.