Kilifi DG Saburi to spend Easter in police custody
By Willis Oketch and Joachim Bwana | April 9th 2020
Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi will spend the Easter weekend in the cell after a magistrate declined to free him.
Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Anita Amwayo requested for Saburi's medical report before she can decide whether to release him on bond.
Saburi, who was arrested on Friday last week, was on Thursday charged with "willfully exposing himself in public while suffering from an infectious disease without taking proper precautions" in breach of Section 28 (a) of the Public Health Act.
He denied the charges
Saburi's troubles began last month when he was forced into quarantine by the State after returning from Germany, around March 5. By then, Germany was battling the coronavirus pandemic, and Kenya had imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone returning from abroad.
According to prosecution, Saburi ignored orders to self-isolate and instead attended several public functions.
Today, Saburi's lawyer, George Kithi, complained that President Uhuru Kenyatta was trying to prejudice and influence his client's trial.
According to Kithi, the president's statement, aired on vernacular radio stations on Tuesday, amounted to contempt of court.
Kithi demanded bond for his client pending trial and guarantees that Uhuru's statement would not influence the presiding magistrate.
Prosecution lawyer, Edga Mulamula dismissed Kithi’s claims that the president was interfering with the independence of the Judiciary, saying his claims could not be verified.
Amwayo directed both parties to present Saburi's medical report indicating his coronavirus status.
The magistrate also dismissed the State’s application to have Saburi detained at Manyani Maximum Prison for 14 days, for isolation, ruling that prisons are not isolation facilities.
She directed that Saburi be detained for six days at Port Police Station and return on April 15 when the medical report will be made available.
The magistrate further warned against discussing or commenting on Saburi's case in public and assured him of a fair trial.
“The Judiciary is an independent arm of the government capable of conducting its duty without interference from the executive. The accused will be accorded a fair trial based on evidence adduced before court,” she said.
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