A 17-year-old girl from Kakamega county facing charges of assault and causing grievous harm has told the court the victim pushed her to action through continuous mockery over her HIV status.
The girl who is a form one student at a school in Likuyani Sub-County is accused of attacking and hurting her 14-year-old classmate on February 5, 2018 before disappearing.
Charge details indicate the minor waylaid her classmate at around 5.00am on the material day, slapped her severally before taking a machete hidden within her skirt and slashing the victim on both feet, right hand and on the head.
The victim who was present in court when her assailant was charged is reported to have bled profusely and got unconscious following the attack as the attacker disappeared into the bushes only to be arrested in Nakuru last week.
“Your honour I accept that I committed the offense as stated in the charge sheet but I would like the court to consider my position. The girl I attacked was telling other students that I am HIV positive leading to discrimination and mockery,” she said.
She narrated to the court that the complainant was her close friend and confidant since primary school and knew so much about her, and felt that it was utter betrayal for her to tell other classmates.
“It is true that I am HIV positive, I was born with the infection and having built trust with my friend I shared the information but sadly she used it against me. My desk mate had borrowed me a razorblade to sharpen her pencil when she intercepted and told her to stop sharing sharp objects with me because I could infect her,” she added.
The complainant who was accompanied with her mother acknowledged that they were friends but remained silent on the allegation of publicizing her friend’s health status thus exposing her to stigma.
The mother of the complainant however intervened and described the accused as a wayward child that had even dropped out of secondary school a few days after admission.
“The girl is my neighbour and has been disturbing her mother that is why no one from their family has come to court, she bore a child while in primary school and has been giving the mother a difficult time. She even told my daughter that she wanted to inflict injuries on the school’s head teacher,” the mother said.
The accused minor rebutted the allegations saying that she only stopped attending school after her friend made her HIV status public to school mates.
“I was determined to study but the mockery that followed the publicizing of my HIV status discouraged me. It was out of anger and a feel of betrayal that I attacked her,” said the girl who claimed to have been born in 1999.
Chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa however criticized the accused person’s actions despite her mitigation, questioning what she would have expected the court to do in case the victim would have succumbed to the deep cuts.
“I did not want to kill her that is why I cut her in the legs and hands and not the head. I just wanted to let her know that she had grossly offended me but I am remorseful I acted out of anger,” said the girl.
The prosecutor Edgar Mulamula had questioned the age of the girl who did not have a birth certificate to prove she was a minor, saying if she was born in January or February she qualifies to be an adult and should not be tried as minor.
Mr Obulutsa directed the girl to be taken for age assessment and remanded at Eldoret Juvenile Remand waiting ahead of the production of a probation report on March 12 when the case will be mentioned.