Couple in case of child abuse freed, investigator at fault

Keyur Navinchandra and Jyoti Keyur who were acquitted of child abuse charges. They said their daughter suffered injuries during epileptic seizures. [File, Standard]
False testimony by an investigator and failure to call key witnesses has led to the acquittal of a couple charged with torturing their five-year-old daughter.

A magistrate's court ruled last Friday that Keyur Navinchandra and Jyoti Keyur had no case to answer since Frederick Mong'are lied to the court that he had investigated the case.

The prosecution was criticised for not calling crucial witnesses to corroborate the evidence.

Nairobi Magistrate Hellen Onkwany said Mr Mong'are had testified that he interviewed the couple, yet he never did. He also never visited their home to ascertain the crime against the child.

The court also noted the officer lied that he had interviewed the child’s nanny, who would have had crucial testimony about the girl's abuse said to have started when she was 10 months old.

A doctor who was a key witness in the case was not called, which undermined the prosecution's case.

In what appears to be laxity or sheer lack of professionalism, the court found that the investigator opted to speak for the child through experts.

It was Bijal Shah, the headmistress of the school, who noticed something unusual about the child.

The headmistress said the child’s mother, Jyoti, came to the school in January 2015 seeking admission for her daughter in the school’s special needs section.

And when she inquired what had happened to the girl, she was told the infant fell from a seat when she was six months old and injured her head.

Her paralysis

She said the fall affected the left side of her brain, which led to paralysis of her right side.

“The teachers soon started observing that the child would come to school with injuries on her body,” Ms Shah said.

The prosecution also called one Ushah Benshar, a security officer, to testify. He told the court that he went to see the child and saw the injuries.

In their defence, the parents, through lawyer Mwaniki Gachoka, said the minor suffered injuries during epileptic seizures.

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Keyur NavinchandraJyoti Keyurchild abuse