by Werner Menges
THE Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura, the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court and the traffic court in Windhoek will be closed for two weeks after people working at the courts or who had visited the premises were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
The courts were closed yesterday after a judicial officer at the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court, a public prosecutor stationed at the court in Katutura, and an accused person who appeared in the traffic court, where he was in contact with court officials, tested positive for the coronavirus, Office of the Judiciary spokesperson Ockert Jansen said in a statement on Tuesday.
Jansen said according to chief magistrate Philanda Christiaan all criminal trials, partly heard matters and other scheduled court appearances would be postponed in the absence of accused persons during the courts’ closure, and a schedule of new dates would be posted outside the court buildings.
Urgent bail hearings, applications for search and seizure warrants and urgent applications related to childcare and protection orders will continue unhindered though.
Jansen said arrangements have been made to have some services shifted from the closed courts to other venues.
At Katima Mulilo, beneficiaries of maintenance payments can collect their payments at the Office of the Ombudsman, where applications for interim domestic violence protection orders, payments of admission of guilt fines, and the administration of intestate deceased estates will also be handled.
In Windhoek, the beneficiaries of maintenance payments can collect their payments at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Judge JP Karuaihe Street (formerly Lüderitz Street). Applications for interim domestic violence protection orders and payments of admission of guilt fines will also be handled at the same court.
Christiaan also said the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court remains closed, with health authorities still to disinfect the building.
More stringent safety measures would be implemented at courts countrywide, Jansen added.
According to a notice posted outside the court building in Mungunda Street in Katutura, people supposed to appear at the court during the next two weeks should instead return to court 21 days later.
The new appearance dates are, in brackets, for people who have to appear in court on the following dates: 29 July (19 August); 30 July (20 August); 31 July (21 August); 3 August (24 August); 4 August (25 August); 5 August (25 August); 6 August (27 August); 7 August (28 August); 10 August (31 August); 11 August (1 September).