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Panic after Chinese suspects show up in court in PPE

Proceedings in a Mombasa Law Courts on Thursday were forced to be adjourned and postponed after three Chinese nationals showed up fully dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The magistrate was forced to postpone the hearing after she mistook the suspects for Ministry of Health officials who had come to pick up a suspected coronavirus case.

The magistrate handling the case was forced to push the hearing to a later date because some of the court officials panicked and thought those were health workers coming to collect a Covid-19 patient.

The three, who are facing bribery charges according to the court documents, had tried to bribe some detectives who were investigating a case against them.

In June, Chief Justice David Maraga was forced to suspend open court in Mombasa after 11 Judiciary staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The court resumed normal open operations after five weeks due to Covid-19 infections at the station.

The resumption of open court services had started after about three months of little activity, mostly restricted to virtual courts.

It was recommended that all staff undergo a Covid-19 test. The 11 cases were detected following this mandatory testing.

Other recommendations included having all parties attending the court wearing masks and sanitising at designated areas before accessing the courtrooms.

The courts were to also conduct two or three hearings per day depending on the technicality and complexity of the cases.