Home Health DPP drops charges against priest accused of knowingly spreading virus

DPP drops charges against priest accused of knowingly spreading virus

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has dropped charges against a Catholic priest from Siaya County, Richard Oduor, who was accused of knowingly spreading the Covid-19 virus.

In the application to withdraw the case, DPP Haji told the court that the police failed to produce witnesses in the trial, thus frustrating the court proceedings.

Upon the request by the DPP, the case was withdrawn under section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The section permits the prosecutor to apply before the court seized of the case to withdraw charges facing an accused person at any time before a final judgment is delivered.

The Rome-based priest was arrested in April after he was discharged from the Kenyatta National Hospital, where he was quarantined upon testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Father Oduor was later arraigned and freed on a Sh150,000 cash bail or Sh500, 000 bond after he pleaded not guilty to the charge of knowingly spreading a virus in the country.

He was accused of failing to self-quarantine after jetting into the country from Rome on March 11 this year.

On arriving in the country, Oduor is reported to have spend a day in Nairobi and then left for his home in Ambira, Siaya County, where he presided over mass at a relative’s funeral.

He traveled back to Nairobi, where he exhibited the Covid-19 symptoms and turned positive upon being tested.

He was released and ordered by Magistrate Martha Nanzushi to self-quarantine for 14 days at Assisi House on Adams Arcade, Nairobi.

However, his lawyer at the time objected to the 14 day quarantine period, saying that his client had tested negative for the virus.

But the Senior Magistrate maintained her rule, arguing that the accused didn’t know the meaning of self-quarantine hence his arraignment.

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