CHARGES DROPPED

Catholic priest set free over Covid-19 after DPP withdraws case

Investigators failed nine times to produce witnesses in court to start trial.

In Summary
  • Oduor jetted into the country on March 10 from Italy but failed to self-quarantine.
  • State counsel James Machirah told the court that the public interest in the matter had been served in deterring negligent behaviour.
Fr Richard Oduor in a Milimani court on Tuesday, April 14.
RECOVERED FROM CORONAVIRUS: Fr Richard Oduor in a Milimani court on Tuesday, April 14.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The Director of Public Prosecution has withdrawn charges against Rome-based Fr Richard Odour who was charged with knowingly spreading coronavirus in the country.

The priest was released after the CCIO Kilimani failed to produce witnesses in court nine times, making it hard for the prosecution to start the trial.

The court had adjourned hearing of the case nine times.

State counsel James Machirah told the court that the public interest in the matter had been served in deterring negligent behaviour in society that is likely to risk one's life and those of others.

“The investigating officers did not supply important medical records and crucial witnesses did not record their statements,” the prosecution said while withdrawing the case.

The matter was withdrawn under Section 87A of the Criminal Procedure Act as the charges of spreading the infection could not hold.

Fr Oduor was out on Sh150,000 bail. Principal magistrate Zainab Abdul closed the case as withdrawn.

The priest had been arrested immediately after being discharged from Mbagathi Hospital. He spent four days in police custody as well as the entire Easter period in cell.

Oduor jetted into the country on March 10 from Italy, a country that had experienced high numbers of patients dying from the dreaded illness, but failed to self-quarantine.

Instead, he went to Nairobi’s Utawala estate and later proceeded to Ugunja in Siaya county where he attended a burial and conducted mass before returning to Nairobi.

His arrest came after the public raised concerns and he was forced by the state to go into quarantine before testing positive for the disease. He recovered.

Edited by Henry Makori