The Daily Nation, last week, published a very short story that depicted the plight of a family in Lamu. The family is crying for justice after their son, Mohammed Omar, 22, was shot and injured by a police officer, a year ago. He was shot in the back, and the bullet came out through his stomach. Gruesome! Omar’s family has spent a fortune on his medication which has of course left the family impoverished. Omar is currently incapacitated; he does not work and only feeds on liquids.
Omar Mwalimu, Omar Mohammed’s father wants damages and justice for the injury that the son suffered; and, compensation for the expenses the family has incurred. As such, he has been to many government offices in search of justice, but everywhere he has been, government officials have been evasive. He also says he wants to know why his son was shot.
Like most people, Mwalimu is not aware that he is going about his plight the wrong way.
Not all government officials in government offices are in position to dispense justice.
So, what should he do? What should you do when you suffer an injustice?
You start by visiting a lawyer’s office. When at the lawyer’s office, you will be asked to narrate your ordeal. From you narration, the lawyer will determine which part(s) of your story comprise a cause of action. A cause of action is a set of facts that enable you to institute a suit against another person.
After ascertaining the cause of action, the lawyer will determine which way to go. Depending on the facts, the lawyer has the following options:
- Accompany you to a police station to make a report
- Write a demand letter to the person who has aggrieved you
- Institute a suit against the person who has aggrieved you.
The above options culminate into other legal procedures whose purpose is solely to bring you justice.
No man shall be condemned unheard. – That is the first principle of natural justice. So, the person who aggrieved you has to put in a defense against the charges/accusations you are bringing against them. After their defense has been heard, it can then be ascertained whether they are still liable to you.
True, justice delayed is justice denied, but do not expect the court or the police or any other person who mans the dispute resolution process you are using to conclude your case in one day. For example, courts deals with close (if not over) a million cases and yours is just one of them.
The duty of your lawyer is to ensure that the process is hastened in such a way that it will not occasion an injustice on the other party, but in a way that will bring you justice sooner.
If you have a good case against the person who aggrieved you, the court may order him or her to pay you compensation for the damage you suffered. The purpose of that compensation is to put you in a place you would have been in, had it not been for the misdeeds of this other person.
So, it is should not suffice that lawyers are expensive. When your case is over and court has ordered compensation, you can always recover your expenses on legal representation.
If it is a criminal matter (those which are often investigated by the police) the person who aggrieved you may upon conviction of the crime be subjected to paying a fine, compensation, imprisonment, or to all the three; or to a combination of any two of the three.
Stop going to the wrong places to seek justice.
You have been aggrieved?
BY SAMALI BITALA
This article appears in our newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 6, Issue 2 of September 9th, 2016 under the title, “What do you do when you have suffered an injustice?”
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