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Kiambu Courts upscale virtual proceedings following Covid-19 upsurge

Court Proceedings at the Kiambu courts yesterday returned virtual in an effort to limit the number of people accessing the premises following the upsurge of Covid-19 cases.
Authorities of the Law courts enforced a decision to limit the number of the people accessing the premises through a memo dated November 24 and signed by Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate Ms. Grace Omodho.
The memo addressed to the director of public prosecution, the police service, prisons, probation, children department, advocates, litigants and the general public stated that the upsurge of covid-19 had prompted swift action to revert to virtual plea taking, mentions and hearings where possible. “Further note that filing of documents will be done online as per our previous notices,” the public notice read.
The permanent virtual links are available from the registries for every court and can be accessed with the online cause list. The court resumed on the 8th of June 2020 giving priority to children cases and suspects in custody. This was done meticulously following the covid-19 protocols.
An earlier Memo signed by the Chief magistrate Ms. Patriciah Gichohi and effected on July 27, 2020 had instructed the Kiambu and Karuri police stations respectively to put the necessary infrastructure in place to enable plea taking, miscellaneous applications and mentions so as to avoid physically bringing to court the suspects in their custody. It had also instructed them on filing their cases on-line.
Following the memo some of the institutions obliged and some cases have been done virtually especially the mentions from prison. Police vehicles have been spotted driving into the court compound with people in handcuffs for processing irrespective of the memo.
However the rising number of fresh infections of Covid-19 cases has called on the administrators of the courts to enforce the restrictions aimed at limiting the number of people visiting the courts.
A spot check by KNA Wednesday revealed that Kiambu Police station are all system go for this transition.
A tour to the station found the deputy OCS Kiambu police station overseeing the day’s pleas at about 12.00a.m “we are prepared and everything is going on smoothly as you can see” said inspector Muthui said as he pointed to those who had already taken plea and were being ushered back into the cells.
The officers also appreciate the efforts in place to contain the virus, fines, bails and bond are paid at the bank and the receipts handed to officers in charge to process discharge.
The children’s department also says they have the resources to facilitate the transition to curb the unnecessary spread of the infection by doing reports which they have been forwarding online.
Speaking to KNA from her office the County Coordinator of the Children department Ms Rose Barine said they are not experiencing any difficulty as this is key in ensuring the Covid-19 protocols are followed, “Even the young people should take great caution because the cavalier attitude will land them in serious health problems, the virus is affecting everybody despite their ages”
The Covid-19 numbers are increasing by the day with a total of 1409 testing positive as at Tuesday and 17 more patients succumbed to the disease, Kenya now has a total of 78,512 confirmed cases and 52,709 recoveries. Kiambu currently has 5,203 cases confirmed with Thika taking the lead with 981, Ruiru 847, Kiambu Town 837, Kiambaa 562, Kikuyu 558, Kabete 353, Limuru 279, Juja 275, Lari 191, Githunguri 141, Gatundu south 113, Gatundu north 45 cases.

 By Anthony Muli

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