The Narok court has today launched the first ever child witness protection box expected to shield children from the public when giving evidence in court.
The launch was presided over by the two Narok High Court Judges; Justice Francis Gikonyo and Mohammed Kullow of Environment and Lands Court (ELC) who reiterated the need to handle children’s cases in private.
Justice Gikonyo said the witness box launched would hide the child from the accused as a child can suffer mentally when he or she sees someone who tortured or attempted to cause harm on her or him.
He called on the members of the public to report injustices against children to the authorities, saying most children and Gender-Based Violence cases go unreported hence, the victims do not get justice for the crimes that are committed on them.
At the same time, the box is created in a way that the accused will see the child inside because he or she also has a constitutional right of seeing the child who is giving testimony.
“It is the duty of every person to guard a child, if you see a child being mistreated and not report, it is criminal because the child must be protected by everyone,” he said.
He called on lawyers, children’s officers, police officers and all members of the public to protect children while dealing with their matters and ensure they are protected from shame.
Also present in the launch was Narok county-based lawyer Martin Kamwaro and area Children’s Officer Pilot Khaemba who asked Narok residents to protect children with a passion as they are the future leaders of our nation.
During the launch, the court demonstrated how the box will work by handling a defilement case involving a two and half year-old girl.
In the case, Francis Ewalah Amos attempted to defile the minor at Kamamia village in Sakutiek area, Narok North Sub County on May 28, 2021.
However, the case did not continue as the child, who had already been brought in the protection box was already asleep forcing the Presiding Chief Magistrate George Wakahiu to push the case hearing to July 2, 2021.
The court denied the accused bail until the minor gives evidence for fear that he would easily lure the minor to interfere with the witness once back in the village.
By Ann Salaton