Partial operations as Judiciary back after shut down

Friday, April 17th, 2020 00:00 |
Chief Justice David Maraga with other judicial officers. Photo/PD/Kenna CLAUDE

The Judiciary will partially resume operations next week.  This follows numerous petitions by advocates asking the Chief Justice David Maraga to reconsider his decision to shut down the courts and give Kenyans an avenue for seeking recourse in the event of violation of their rights.

In the wake of confirmation of Kenya’s first case of coronavirus, the courts had declared a scaling down of its activities. 

On Thursday, Maraga announced measures to scale up court functions by reviewing its operations in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Under auspices of the National Council on the administration of Justice, the CJ said the council has reviewed current situation in the administration of justice and directed that all suspects, will now be arraigned in court within 24 hours, irrespective of the nature of the offence.

“Unless otherwise released on bond or bail by police stations where they are held,” Maraga said in a statement sent to newsrooms, adding: “The hearing of criminal appeals by the High Court and the Court of Appeal shall be scaled and proceed through modalities to be agreed upon judges seized of the appeals, the DPP, appellants and their advocates as well as prison authorities.”

Where applicable, the CJ said, the appeals will be heard by video link and where facilities for video link are not available, in open court subject to compliance with the guidelines of the ministry of Health in combating COVID-19.

“The Judiciary shall put in place measures to ensure compliance with the Ministry of Health guidelines on combating the spread of COVID-19 during the hearings,” he said.

Initially, Maraga had instructed that some suspects be charged from police stations. Prisoners and remandees were not to be presented to court during the Judiciary shut-down.

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