By Mary Taruvinga l Senior Reporter
TWO former Ordinary Level students at St Christopher’s School were barred from proceeding to Advanced Level at the institution after they were overheard plotting “to kill a lady or girl and rape her body afterwards”.
This emerged after the pair, whose identity is being protected and only referred to as ‘R’ and ‘C’, approached the High Court challenging the school’s decision not to enrol them for ‘A’ Level.
“Around October 21, 2021 a certain conversation between R and C and two other pupils is alleged to have come to light at St Christopher’s School.
“These two and two others are alleged to have been heard by other students openly talking about their desire or intention to shoot a lady or girl and rape her body afterwards,” read court papers.
The school authorities then raised alarm and decided to block the appellants from continuing with their studies at the institution.
The students then sued the school Headmistress Louise Morrisby, and her deputy Carl Lapham.
They also cited the school, the trustees and board of governors complaining that they were unlawfully barred from continuing with schooling.
The learners sought to have the decision set aside, arguing they were never informed of any specific charges in the school’s schedule of offences.
“The children were denied their right to be heard with the assistance of their parents, and their right to call witnesses in their defence, contrary to the provisions of the Education Act,” said their parents.
They also complained there was never any disciplinary hearing, adding the school head and other respondents were conflicted in the whole disciplinary process.
“The children were not found guilty of any particular offence other than that they lacked maturity and dishonesty, which are themselves not offences recognised by the respondent’s own regulation.
“The penalty meted out was excessive and they were not afforded the chance to mitigate it.
After they completed their Form 4 the two students did not return to school, but continued to communicate through their lawyers but they were rejected.
Later, the school offered conditions to be met by the two if they were to return.
They were asked to submit a verbal apology to the school, undergo off campus counselling with attendant reports to the school, a final warning letter on file and they objected to that before approaching the courts.
However, their court application has been trashed by High court Judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire.
“Given the manner the events unfolded. I am unable to condemn the respondents. Unquestionably, the school head and her deputy were the disciplinary authority of the school,” ruled the judge.
“It was incumbent upon them to get to the bottom of the incident in question and make decisions. Unfortunately, in this matter no formal disciplinary enquiry was eventually carried out because of the reasons articulated earlier on.
“Given the circumstances of this case, the remedy sought by the applicants is manifestly incompetent.
“There was no such disciplinary process undertaken by the respondents against R and C (the students) as is capable of being set aside.”
The judge said whilst the decision not to allow R and C back for Lower Six in 2022 could be construed as a conviction and sentence, for the reasons articulated in this judgment, that decision shall not be set aside.
“Therefore, the application is hereby dismissed. Costs shall follow the result. The applicants shall pay the costs of suit jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved.”