Chief Justice Maraga delays return of open court sessions
Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi
Chief Justice David Maraga yesterday delayed the full resumption of court operations saying the move would accelerate the spread of coronavirus.
At a press conference, the Chief Justice, noted that court processes involved a lot of exchange of paperwork from advocates offices to registry staff and to Judicial officers, which, he said, could accelerate the spread of the virus.
“Both the Bench and the Bar as well as some court users comprise of many senior members that fall into the category that is considered most vulnerable to Covid-19.
If we open court hearings and require them to appear personally in court, it will be putting them in Harm’s Way,” he said.
Maraga said that while it was necessary to upscale court activities, it would not be wise to have open court sessions.
“Court proceedings can only be conducted remotely through increased use of technology since allowing court room interactions would be inimical to the interests of Kenyans as it would greatly endanger public safety,” he said.
Maraga reiterated that plea-taking and urgent criminal hearings were still available.
He directed suspects in serious crimes to be presented to court for plea taking and the police to continue to release minor offenders on bond or bail, failure to which they must take suspects to court within 24 hours.
“It does not mean that we have closed down Court operations have and will never be closed. Consultations with the Ministry of Health will continue,” he said.
Maraga directed presiding judges to meet with stakeholders in their work stations to determine which matters should be heard with the matter of remote hearing to start next week.