Haji Drops Charges Against Priest Accused of Spreading Covid-19

  • Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji addresses a press conference at his office in Upperhill, Nairobi on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
    Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji addresses a press conference at his office in Upperhill, Nairobi on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    File
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has dropped criminal charges against a Catholic priest from Siaya, who was accused of knowingly spreading Covid-19.

    Haji, in his application to withdraw the case, cited Section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code that allows him to withdraw charges facing an accused person at any time before final judgement.

    The DPP also accused the investigation officer of failing to produce witnesses in the case that forced the court to adjourn nine times.

    Father Richard Oduor who was accused of spreading Covid-19
    Father Richard Oduor who was accused of spreading Covid-19
    File

    Father Richard Oduor, who is among the first ten people to test positive for the Covid-19 in the country, was charged at the Milimani Law Courts in April.

    He was later released on a cash bail of Ksh 150,000 after denying the charges. 

    Father Oduor had landed in the country from Rome, Italy, on March 11, and proceeded to Utawala estate in Nairobi before travelling to Siaya on March 13.

    He had been called to conduct the burial of a close relative.

    The Rome-based priest returned to Nairobi where he exhibited symptoms of the deadly virus prompting him to visit a hospital.

    After undergoing testing, his results came back positive and was placed in quarantine.

    The priest was later arrested and prosecuted after he was discharged from hospital.

    According to the authorities, the priest failed to self-quarantine as was required of any person who arrived into the country at the time when the pandemic had just hit Kenya.

    At the time, Italy was one of the hardest hit countries in the world. 

    Medics conducting random screening for Covid-19 symptoms at National Archives, Nairobi on Saturday, March 21, 2020
    Medics conducting random screening for Covid-19 symptoms at National Archives, Nairobi on Saturday, March 21, 2020
    File