The Judiciary has temporarily suspended the hearing of civil cases across the country effective today as the reality of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) hit closer home since last Friday when the country recorded the first case.
CJ Maraga told a press briefing on Sunday that court activities will be reduced for two weeks effective Monday to allow further consultations on the matter and the design of appropriate response measures.
During this period, the National Council for Administration of Justice (NCAJ) headed by Chief Justice David Maraga, said prisoners and remandees will not be presented to court.
“In compliance with the directive issued by the National Emergency and Response Committee, we shall forthwith scale down court activities throughout the country over the next two weeks effective tomorrow, March 16, 2020 in order to allow further consultations and design appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus,” Maraga said yesterday at the Supreme Court of Kenya after a closed-door meeting that lasted four hours with members of the council.
Regarding new arrests, he said all cases, except serious ones, will be dealt with at the police stations in accordance with guidelines to be issued by the Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai.
“We have agreed to suspend all hearings and mentions of all civil cases in all courts, along with all execution proceedings. Courts will continue to handle cases of emergencies under certificates of urgency, and taking pleas in serious cases that are criminal in nature, ” said the CJ.
The first case was from a 27-year old woman who had travelled from the USA, through UK into Kenya, the other one is from a friend to the lady, the third case is unknown.
The government has been criticised for its lax handling of the virus, by not banning flights from and into affected countries.
Today, it’s been reported that nurses at Mbagathi Hospital are on a go-slow because of inadequate training on handling the virus and lack of protection for their families.
Since its beginning, there have been 169,924 cases of coronavirus, 6521 deaths as at this time, 77,776 people who have recovered from it; of the 85,627 active cases over 5900 are critical; 79,704 in mild conditions.
The UK has had 1,372 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far.
The United Kingdom (UK) has advised its citizens against non-essential travels to Kenya following revelations that the country is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Kenya. This is due to the Kenyan authorities announcing measures restricting individuals, except Kenyan citizens and resident permit holders, from entering Kenya if they have come from countries affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), including the United Kingdom. These measures will come in to effect as of 17 March. Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Kenya. The Kenyan authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. Around 190,000 UK residents visit Kenya every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
Mahakamani News desk has also been reliably informed that Staff at Kenya’s 100-bed isolation facility for coronavirus have gone on a go-slow because they don’t have the training to handle the virus and the government doesn’t have mitigation measures to protect their families.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has also advised wananchi to observe basic hygiene and hand sanitation in markets, matatus, churches and any other places frequented by many people as a precautionary measure.
The disaster team on Friday came up with a raft of proposals to combat the virus that has claimed over 5,200 people globally. The measures included a call to Kenyans to avoid mass gatherings, greetings, body touch, and non-essential travel. Traders have also been asked not to increase prices of basic commodities.
CJ David Maraga Orders
Judges will, in the meantime, Maraga said, review deserving cases identified by prison authorities and issue appropriate revision orders in an effort to de-congest the prisons. This is likely to let off the hook petty offenders, most of them, who are unable to clear fines.
“Magistrate courts will also review bail terms for those in remand,” Maraga stated.
However, all judicial officers and staff are required to continue reporting on duty though no open court appearances will take place.
The NCAJ – which comprises of members of the Judiciary, correctional services, the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations – also announced suspension of all conferences, workshops, colloquia and training programmes until further notice.
“There will be no foreign travel for the next 30 days for staff of the justice sector institutions, whether official or private, save for exceptional circumstances,” Maraga said, and announced the creation of an ad-hoc Inter-Agency Committee that will liaise with the national committee and advise NCAJ on further precautionary measures on an ongoing basis.
Mahakamani News is Kenya’s top court reporting and crime coverage website. If you have a case that needs coverage, or if you are facing injustice from powerful forces, fired unfairly or reporting any corruption or relevant news pertaining judiciary etc please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org