By Wahome Thuku
It’s about six years since the Sexual Offences Act came into force in 2006. But investigators and prosecutors of sexual offences are yet to grasp the content of that law.
And if the following case is anything to go by, a lot needs to be done in the prosecution of rape and defilement cases in Kenya.
In June 2007, Mr JTM (full name concealed), a primary school watchman at a village in Nyeri was arraigned before Karatina Senior Resident Magistrate charged with defiling his nine-year-old daughter.
The girl was a Standard Three pupil at the same school. According to the police, the incident happened on June 8, 2007. The father faced an alternative charge of committing indecent act to the girl.
During trial, the child was called to testify. She told the court how in June 2007, the father had done bad things to her repeatedly and had sex with her. She said she had reported to her mother and a teacher called Mrs Kimani.
Kimani was also called as a witness. She said she had noticed the girl had problems socialising with other children in school.
“When I interrogated her, she opened up and revealed to me how the father had been sexually assaulting her,” Kimani told the magistrate.
The teacher said she reported to the school head and the matter was taken to the local chief and police.
A third witness, Dr Sylvia Mutahi Wanjiru, told the court the girl gave her a history of repeated sexual assault. But there was no medical evidence of sexual nature gathered on her body.
The fourth witness was the police officer who investigated the case. The watchman also gave unsworn evidence and denied having committed the act.
The girl’s mother and the chief were never called to testify. That was one grave mistake because they were crucial witnesses. Nonetheless, the man was convicted on the first charge and sentenced to the mandatory life imprisonment.