The High Court has endorsed the position of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority following an investigation that cleared five police officers of wrongdoing.
This arose from a Constitutional petition by Mr. Jackson Murithi Akwalu who was aggrieved by actions of the police and moved to the High Court in Chuka County, seeking damages on claims that his rights were violated.
He also sought orders to compel IPOA to conduct an investigation against the officers claiming they committed “illegal acts,” against him.
But the Authority revealed findings of its investigation during the petition and the Court noted: “The 1st interested party (IPOA) did investigate the complaint by the petitioner and in its report found that there was no evidence that police used excessive force or that they assaulted the petitioner. The allegation was not proved.”
Mr. Akwalu had moved to the High Court on July 16, 2019 following an incident on August 9, 2018, during which police arrested and charged him.
He prayed to be compensated for alleged detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment but the Court threw out the petition altogether.
Whoever desires any Court to give judgement as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts exist.107(1) Evidence Act
In dismissing the petition, the Court identified a Ms. Faridah who reported to the local police station that Mr. Akwalu was in possession of her phone and had refused to give it back.
“She went and made her complaint to the police and came back with officers who arrested him. According to the 3rd to 7th respondents (the officers) the petitioner resisted arrest and became violent,” the judgement reads in part.
One of the arresting officers sustained injuries in the melee and produced evidence in court to support the harm.
Justice L. W. Gitari continued in the judgement: “It is my view that the petitioner’s arrest was based on a valid complaint. It therefore follows that he was lawfully detained as arrest and detention hinged on evidence.”
The Judge added: “The petitioner was consequently charged in a court of law and it is therefore not true that that the charges preferred against him were unlawful. The police officers effecting lawful arrest under the Criminal Procedure Code.”
IPOA’s responses, submissions
Mr. Akwalu’s petition had also wanted the High Court to quash proceedings that were ongoing at Chief Magistrate’s Court in Chuka, over the disputed phone.
Besides the officers, the petition also listed the Director of Public Prosecutions as 2nd respondent.
In response to the petition, the DPP and the officer in charge of Chuka Police Station, “associated” themselves with IPOA’s position on the matter, including sworn affidavits and submission made by IPOA representatives in Court.