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Police commended for enabling virtual proceedings to curb COVID-19

The administration of Karuri Police station in Kiambu County have been lauded for embracing technology which has in turn enabled successful virtual court proceedings.

The police station which has been vibrant through production of the highest number of suspects in court daily, has for two (2) days running, conducted proceedings virtually.

Kiambu Chief Magistrate  Patriciah Gichohi yesterday through the Kiambu court users’ forum commended the Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS) for embracing technology which has enabled them to conduct proceedings without physically ferrying in suspects and remandees in their custody.

The head of the station had a fortnight ago directed the stations to install the ICT infrastructure for that purpose.

This measure was taken by the judicial officer who envisaged total protection of her staff following an incident in which some officers at the Makadara law courts contracted COVID-19 at the place of work. The scenario resulted into the closure of the court to enable the premises to be fumigated.

In a congratulatory message dated 11th August, 2020 to Karuri police station officers, the chief magistrate encouraged other police stations to emulate Karuri by sharing their station’s email addresses, telephone contact and liaison persons for coordinating the virtual sessions.

“Kindly note that all you need is a laptop with a functional camera and a microphone plus internet to be able to conduct court matters virtually,” said Ms Gichohi.

Prior to the change of system, some police officers and suspects from Karuri police station had contracted the disease, causing fear among judicial staff. This resulted to some suspects being remanded either at Langata prison or Nairobi remand home.

Regional Coordinator for Probation Services, Ms. Margaret Nyabuto, welcomed the effort stating that it had made work for her officers easier.

“Keep up Karuri police station. The move has enabled us to get to the accused persons and interview them promptly.”

On her part the duty officer, SRM  Grace Omodho confirmed a successful plea taking and miscellaneous application for custodial orders for suspects being probed for various offences. She added that the move will enable stations to make very efficient use of resources like time and transport.

“Officers can proceed to other functions after the session and avoid shuttling to and from Kiambu court which is almost 15 km.

Since the re-opening of the courts in May 2020, Kiambu law court with six (6) magistrates has been assigning a duty officer who takes charge for a whole week. The duty magistrate handles major upcoming issues while others have been working from home to avoid exposing themselves to the public who are their clients.

By Lydia Shiloya

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