Court drops case against Siaya priest accused of spreading Covid-19

Father Richard Onyango Oduor. A Nairobi court dropped charges against him. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

A court has terminated a case against a Catholic priest who was charged with knowingly spreading Covid-19.

Father Richard Oduor walked to freedom on Thursday after the prosecution failed to produce witnesses in the case.

State Prosecutor James Machirah applied to withdraw the case before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nazushi.

“I apply to withdraw the case against Father Oduor under Section 87 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code as witnesses are not present,” Mr Machirah said.

The court also heard that the charges against the priest cannot hold.

Defence lawyers echoed the prosecutor’s request and urged the magistrate to terminate the case against the priest since it has been adjourned nine times because of lack of witnesses.

In her ruling, the magistrate allowed the plea by the prosecution to terminate the case against the accused.

“You are hereby discharged. The case against you is hereby withdrawn,” ruled the magistrate.

Father Oduor, who was charged on April 16, was released on a cash bail of Sh150,000.

The magistrate directed him to self-quarantine for 14 days at the Assisi House in Nairobi.

The priest was arrested immediately after he was discharged from a Nairobi hospital where he had been admitted after testing positive for Covid-19.

Father Oduor, who hails from Ambira in Siaya,  arrived in the country from Italy on March 11, spent a day in Utawala, Nairobi before travelling to his rural home on March 13 where he conducted the burial of a close relative.

He later returned to Nairobi and exhibited symptoms of the disease prompting his admission to hospital where he tested positive and was placed under quarantine.

rmunguti@ke.nationmedia.com