Court okays caning of 'errant' pupils
By Thuo Gitu , East African Standard (Nairobi)

April 19, 2003

A Limuru court has ruled that a teacher has the right to whip and punish an errant pupil whose behaviour is intolerable.

Senior Resident Magistrate Ezra Awino ruled that under provocation, an incensed person can behave beyond control.

Awino made the ruling when he acquitted a secondary school teacher accused of assaulting his Form Two student last year.

George Mutura Munga had denied that on July 19, last year at Thigiyo Boys High School he unlawfully assaulted David Mwaura Kariuki occasioning him actual bodily harm.

He allegedly slapped, whipped and kicked the boy into unconsciousness after he defied his order to kneel down.

In his ruling, the magistrate said the conduct of the student appeared provocative to his teacher and that incensed him to lose control.

"For that reason, I find it appropriate to excuse the accused for the manner he handled the complainant," said the magistrate.

He noted that Dr Ramesh Patel had testified that the student could have lost conscience after suffering from hysterical disorders brought about by a psychological trauma.

He pointed out that during the hearing the court heard that the students of Thigio High School were indisciplined making teachers work under intense pressure and psychological torture.

But his ruling immediately drew wrath from the Child Rights Advisory Documentation and Legal Centre (Cradle) and educationists who called for the review of the case.

Cradle lawyer Gilbert Onyango said the magistrate in a sense justified "brutality against minors in schools".

Meanwhile, a man who stole a chicken has been handed a 10-year jail by a Kangundo court.

John Nzimba was also ordered to receive 10 strokes of the cane and hard labour by Senior Resident Magistrate Nicholas Njage.

Nzimba had denied stealing the chicken valued at Sh170 belonging to Teresia Musyoka.

The court heard that Nzimba was nabbed with the chicken "cooking it for his meal".

He was given 14 days to appeal against the sentence.

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