Judiciary scales down court activities over coronavirus

Source Xinhua

The judiciary has announced that it will scale down court activities after the report of the first case of COVID-19 in the country.

David Maraga, chief justice and Supreme Court president told journalists in Nairobi that the measures are designed to protect members of staff as well as the public from infection and to prevent the spread of the disease.

“In compliance with the directive issued by the National Emergency and Response Committee, we shall forthwith scale down court activities throughout the country over the next two weeks effective tomorrow, March 16, in order to allow further consultations and design appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.

Maraga was speaking after a meeting of the National Council for the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) to deliberate on the implications of the announcement by the Ministry of Health on Friday that the first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the country.

An ad-hoc Inter-Agency Committee has also been established to liaise with the National Emergency and Response Committee and advise the NCAJ on further precautionary measures on an ongoing basis.

Maraga said that for the next fortnight all appeals, hearings and mentions in criminal and civil cases in all courts are also suspended with immediate effect.

“During this time, prisoners and remandees will not be presented to court,” he added.

He noted that judges in all stations will in the meantime review the deserving cases already identified by prisons authorities and issue appropriate revision orders in an effort to decongest the prisons while magistrate courts will also review bail terms for those in remand.

The chief justice added that there will be no foreign travel for the next 30 days for staff of the justice sector institutions, whether official or private, save for exceptional circumstances.