How doctors’ strike is affecting court cases

Sexual violence

A victim of sexual violence.

Photo credit: File

The ongoing doctors' strike has derailed court cases where medical experts are to testify, leading to delays and frustration of victims seeking legal redress for various offences.

A majority of the cases are sexual in nature, murder and other assault offences. Most involve cases where courts ordered age assessments of suspects who claimed to be minors but had no documentation to prove their age.

Many of the cases have been adjourned for the last four weeks.

In Eldoret, a 34-year-old man lamented that his defilement case needed a doctor to testify but was adjourned by Resident Magistrate Rodgers Otieno for the fourth time due to the absence of doctors.

At the same court, a minor charged with defilement was to undergo an age assessment before taking a plea, but the hearing was adjourned to April 15 due to lack of a medical report.

Otieno said since the beginning of the strike, cases where doctors were to testify or conduct age assessment have been adjourned.

“It is apparent that the doctors' strike is also affecting justice delivery...It is beyond our control as the court,” said the Resident Magistrate.

State Counsel Meshack Rop said: "This is a challenge beyond our control. I hope litigants will bear with us."

Victims of sexual offences are also suffering since there are no doctors to examine them, making it hard for detectives to compile investigation reports on such cases before taking them to court.

Last year, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) reported that it was attending to more than 400 cases related to sexual offences every month.

MTRH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Wilson Aruasa said the majority of the cases were rape and defilement.