The judge ordered the state to pay the minor Sh4 million as compensation for the indecent search and leaking her photos. [iStockphoto]

On August 5, 2015, mainstream social media were awash with news of a matatu that was intercepted by traffic police officers along Karatina-Nairobi road carrying intoxicated students.

The students were allegedly high on alcohol and bhang and some were alleged to have been engaging in sex in the vehicle. Police said they were acting on a tip-off from the public.

The officers said the vehicle was overcrowded, smelt alcohol and had bhang. They commandeered the vehicle to the police post and upon searching the students, they recovered bhang hidden in the undergarments of one of the students, code named MWK.

She was charged, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation. However, what attracted public attention was the circulation of the teen’s nude images.

This overshadowed the offense. The officers who took photos of her breasts claimed the drugs were hidden under her undergarment and bra.

Following the incident, a was case filed by the girl, The Cradle for Children Foundation against the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution, Inspector General of Police and two police officers - Inspector Agnes Magiri and Police Constable Anne Ogindo.

Justice John Mativo agreed with the petitioners that the State had violated the girl’s rights. He concluded that the police strip-searched her, adding that taking of the photos was against her dignity and devalued her worth.

He observed that although the girl pleaded guilty and was convicted, she ought to have appealed the decision or sought a review for the ‘search’ was illegal.

“A child whose nude images are circulated in the media has to go through life knowing that the image is probably circulating within the mass distribution network for the public to see. This experience may haunt him or her for long because it creates a permanent record of the child’s image. The psychological harm to the child is exacerbated if he or she knows that the photograph continues to circulate among viewers who may use it to derive sexual satisfaction or other purposes,” said Justice Mativo.

The AG opposed the case. He argued that unknown people took the photos and posted them on the internet. In the case, the court heard that investigations had exonerated the police from the inhumane act. However, the DPP had a different side of story that indicated the officers searched the girl in front of their male colleagues.

The judge ordered the state to pay the minor Sh4 million as compensation for the indecent search and leaking her photos. 

Leaked Photos Intoxicated Students Justice John Mativo