State appeals ruling on Othaya Boys’ case

The State has moved to the Appellate Court, seeking to overturn a decision by the High Court, that found Othaya Boys High School Principal, Mr Edward Muhuni, contemptuous of a court order.

Principal State Counsel, Siro Chris, has filed the Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeal, challenging a ruling by Justice Florence Muchemi, passed last week, in which both the School Board of Management (BOM) and Muhuni were found culpable of disobeying a court order, after failing to readmit 20 former students to school, after they had been suspended over acts of indiscipline.

The students, through their lawyer, Muhoho Gichimu, had moved to the Nyeri High Court, claiming the school had failed to allow the learners back in school, even after receiving the order dated March 23.

The students, all Form fours, had been suspended from school in October last year, after allegedly assaulting some of the colleagues.

But Justice Muchemi, in her ruling, said the students through their lawyer had provided sufficient proof that the school had erred in disregarding the order that had given a reprieve to the suspended students.

She further said the complainants had provided stamped copies that acknowledged the school management had actually received the order in question and in the event, they were in disagreement should have challenged it in a court of law.

“Assuming that the school had a problem with obeying the order, it would have instructed its counsel to challenge it in court, but nothing of that sort was done and it instead remained adamant in shutting the students from its premises,” said Justice Muchemi in her ruling.

“Service of the orders on the respondent, has not been denied in this application as the school’s BOM has replied trying to justify its failure to obey the said order,” noted the judge.

But the Government has faulted Justice Muchemi’s ruling, saying it poses a bad precedent in dealing with indiscipline cases at institutions of learning.

It also states that the Board had sought the advice of the State Counsel over the said order, where an agreement was agreed upon in which the affected students were to be accommodated at an alternative place outside the school.

This, according to the State, was meant to safeguard both the complainants’ security and that of fellow learners.

“The Board invited us to the school when they were served with Orders to readmit the suspended students and keeping in mind the Kyanguli Secondary School case, it was difficult to advise the Board to readmit the said students. In the circumstances the Board of Management decided to give them accommodation outside the school, as it was approaching exams. The Board saw it wise to accommodate them outside because of their security and that of the others who were inside. The security of the students is paramount at all costs,” read part of the letter dated June 7 and copied to the Nyeri County Director of Education, Mrs. Sabina Aroni and her TSC counterpart, Mr Elijah Omwega.

“It’s our informed feeling that if this ruling is left unchallenged, it will create a very bad precedent which will mean that students cannot be disciplined once they are unruly,” reads the notice further. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the principal is safe and we are following the appeal, to ensure that justice prevails,” concludes the letter.



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