Court stops police from posting photos of suspects on social media


Court stops police from posting photos of suspects on social media
Four suspects believed to be waylaying people coming from banks and robbing them. PHOTOS| DCI

In Summary

  • This follows a petition that was filed by a Nairobi resident, Henry Shitanda, who claims that posting of suspects' images on social media before they are charged in court not sanctioned in law, therefore, is unconstitutional.
  • The petitioner further argues that sharing of the images online not only humiliates the suspects but also infringes on  the accused persons' rights to privacy as enshrined in the constitution.

The High Court has issued orders barring the Inspector of General Police and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) from posting photos of suspects on social media platforms.

This follows a petition that was filed by a Nairobi resident, Henry Shitanda, who claims that posting of suspects’ images on social media before they are charged in court not sanctioned in law, therefore, is unconstitutional.

The petitioner further argues that sharing of the images online not only humiliates the suspects but also infringes on  the accused persons’ rights to privacy as enshrined in the constitution.

“The internet and social media have made booking photos more embarrassing and humiliating than ever before as the accused or suspects are entitled to privacy rights as enshrined in the constitution,” reads the court papers.

He avers that if not stopped, the booking photos as displayed on the DCI social media accounts may be used by other persons and shared to otherwise collect or solicit for its removal from the internet.

“The respondents should be made aware that even after suspects or accused in the criminal proceedings the booking photographs are available on the internet long after the case ends,” says the petitioner.

The restraining said orders were issued on Friday, December 7 by High Court judge Wilfrida Okwany, who certified the matter as urgent.

“That a conservatory order and be and is hereby issued restraining the Inspector of General Police and Director of Criminal Investigations from posting suspects and or accused person booking photographs and on the internet and social media and more and more specifically on the DCI Facebook and Twitter page pending the determination of the petition,” reads the court order.

The matter is set to be mentioned on March 5, 2019.

 

The Inspector of General Police and Director of Criminal Investigations have been named as respondents in the case.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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