NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The High Court has overruled a decision by a magistrate’s court that allowed eight Sunshine Secondary School students to settle an arson case they were facing, out of court.
This follows an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution against the lower court’s decision, saying there is sufficient evidence to charge the students with arson and conspiracy to commit a felony.
Justice Luka Kimaru ruled that the magistrate made an error of judgment when she allowed the parties to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism.
The students will now take plea on August 2.
The DPP had argued that the ruling failed to recognise the mandate of the office of prosecution while pointing out that the students were already past the age that would hinder him from instituting charges.
The students drawn from form one to three were arrested last week for attempting to burn their dorm.
Lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Jason Ombioga, acting for the students, on Monday informed the court that the negotiations commenced on Saturday following the arrest of the students on Friday night.
The students who were initially in police custody were released by Chief Magistrate Lucy Gitari on personal bonds of Sh50,000 each.
The two lawyers had implored her to do so as no school property was actually destroyed and to keep the students from being “hardened” by the criminal justice system.
They also argued that it was best practice to encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).