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Coronavirus: Hearings, mentions suspended as courts scale down operations

By Amina Wako March 15th, 2020 2 min read

The judiciary has scaled down court activities across the country for the next two weeks as part of steps to tame the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chief Justice David Maraga has announced the drastic measure being taken by the judiciary to help the government in the fight against the fast spreading virus after the first case of the virus was reported in the country on Friday.

Speaking during a media briefing, Maraga said the courts have also suspended court hearings, mentions of civil cases and will also review bail terms for those in remand across the country, in the order that takes effect on Monday.

“All exclusion proceedings are also suspended during this period. Courts will continue to handle certificate of urgency and taking the plea in serious criminal cases,” Maraga said.

According to the CJ, new cases, except serious ones, will be dealt with at the police station based on the guidelines which will be issued by the Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai.

All judicial staff will be required to report to work during this period but there will be no open court appearances as the CJ directed the magistrate’s courts to review bail terms for those who are being held in remand.

“During this period prisoners and remandees will not be brought to court,” the Supreme Court president added.

Judges have been asked to use the time to review cases already identified by prison authorities and issue revision orders to decongest the country’s prisons.

Maraga has further suspended all foreign travel by employees of the judiciary, the judges’ colloquium as well as all training conferences involving judicial staff until further notice.

“There will be no foreign travel for the next 30 days for the staff of the justice sector institution whether official or private except in very exceptional circumstances.

A committee of the agencies of the National Council on the Administration of Justice has been set up to liaise with the National Committee on Coronavirus led by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in tackling Covid-19.

The collaboration is aimed at establishing further precautionary measures to be taken by the judiciary personnel to contain the spread of the dreaded new coronavirus in the country.