Kiambu Law court will tomorrow remain closed for fumigation in compliance with the Government and Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19.
Kiambu Chief Magistrate Ms. Patriciah Gichohi says it was prudent to put in place containment measures that will allow the court to operate while taking precautions to protect the judicial officers and other staff from being infected with the killer virus.
“It is better we reinforce the prevention measures and that is why we are not allowing members of the public to access our premises especially at the counters for criminal and civil cases” she told KNA yesterday as she supervised to ensure the public kept distance as they queued outside.
Previously, they were allowed to access the counters where they were served while seated while some stood as they waited for their turn to be served.
Ms. Gichohi has further directed that from Monday 27th July 2020, accused persons shall not be brought to court premises.
She said in a communication to court users that “All police stations within the jurisdiction of Kiambu law courts should put up infrastructure in their respective stations to enable virtual taking of pleas and mentions for accused persons and suspects in their custody so as not to bring them to court premises”
The head of station directed that all documents which include pleas, charge sheets, Miscellaneous Criminal Applications, Medical, probation and children reports or any other shall be filed online and sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for High court matters.
The communication was addressed to DPP, Police service, Prison, Probation, Children department, Advocates, Litigants and the general public and displayed at the law courts main entrance including all strategic locations within the court premises.
At the time of going to press at 9.00a.m, only the duty magistrate Ms. Grace Omodho had arrived and set for the day’s assignments which include taking pleas and mentions for all the 6 lower courts. She is expected to take charge of any upcoming assignments that come by during the day so as to ensure free flow of activities.
As for the office of ODPP, they have not upscaled their services as for this reason, only one state counsel is assigned to take charge of the matters at the court.
Kiambu law courts have taken the measures promptly following the closure of Makadara law courts in Nairobi County after some members of staff are reported to have contracted COVID-19 early this week.
Upon opening the courts in May, the courts marked seats that were not to be occupied in line with social distancing but owing the swelling numbers in the courtrooms, people have ended disregarding the rules compelling the court administrators to device better containment strategies.
Some magistrates have taken upon themselves to ensure that people who have already been attended to leave the premises so as to avoid crowding. The state counsels have on their part ensured they carry extra masks to the courtroom so that they can give to accused people who have not protected themselves. They have even reminded them to wear the masks correctly when they appear in court.
By Lydia Shiloya