Cases at the Bungoma Law Courts have reduced to around four per day, says Chief Magistrate King’ori

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Those attending cases at the Law Courts have to strictly adhere to Covid-19 regulations. Photo/courtesy

The Coronavirus pandemic has heavily influenced operations at the Bungoma Law Courts, with cases being handled at the Courts calling down to around four a day. Speaking to West FM on Thursday, Chief Magistrate at the Bungoma Law Courts John King’ori said the effects of the pandemic are clear and the way people interact has been changed to fit in with the preventive measures implemented countrywide at all Courts including mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing among others. “In the past, we heard between six and ten cases in a single day, but because of Covid-19, now there are not more than four cases,” he said, adding that only about 100 people present themselves for the cases.

The Bungoma Law Courts deputy registrar Elias Mwenda, who had accompanied the Chief Magistrate, said the internet is now the main avenue for handling cases with good progress registered, “There ate those who can’t access the courts anymore, like those at the Bungoma Remand prison since it was locked. What they do now is mainly proceed with cases through the internet,” he said, adding that two laptops were availed for the Prison to facilitate the online cases. He said payments are made via a till number or though the bank and important case documents are submitted online for scanning by a select team, “Handling papers hand to hand is now dangerous because of transmission of the virus.”

Further, Chief Magistrate King’ori has urged those who have case appointments at the Courts to observe the protocols and shun going with many people, “We urge residents seeking justice at the Courts to prepare well when they come, to put on masks and avoid coming with many people, who won’t be involved in one way or another in the cases.”

The deputy registrar also revealed that a Repeat Offenders Identification Tool is now in use, though in its first stages. The tool is meant to address the challenge in accessing criminal records, an enables judicial officers to establish whether an offender is a first or repeat offender. Its database is updated daily by documenting important details including the name, age, sex, phone number, ID number of convicted offenders. Discussions are still being held with stakeholders to see the viability of the tool.