Courts allow lawyers, public to wear face masks during proceedings

30 Mar 2020 / 17:19 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur Court Complex has allowed all those present during open court proceedings to wear face masks and gloves, as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Lawyer Ammanjeet Singh shared this development with Bernama today through WhatsApp.

“Normally, face masks are not allowed to be worn in court. If lawyers wish to wear them, we need permission from the court. It is all part of court decorum,” he said.

The lawyer, who has appeared for several cases at the court complex during the imposition of the Movement Control Order by the government effective March 18 to April 14, added that lawyers and others attending court have now been advised to practise social distancing.

Based on his observations of the main entrance at the court complex, only lawyers undertaking new cases and one family member of each individual accused of a crime, are being allowed in.

“Each of us who are allowed in are sprayed with sanitiser on our palms, and if any of us have a body temperature exceeding 37.5 degrees Celsius, we are not allowed in,” he said.

Meanwhile, a court staff member told Bernama that in reference to cases which needed to be handled throughout the duration of the Movement Control Order, court officers including interpreters took turns to be on duty.

“There are only a few court rooms open for mention of new cases,” the staff member said, adding that a limited number of people were allowed into court.

On March 17, the corporate communications unit at Istana Kehakiman (Palace of Justice) announced that all civil and criminal trials and hearings in courts throughout the country would be postponed during the imposition of the Movement Control Order.

However, remand and bail applications are continuing as usual, along with courts using the e-Kehakiman system which allows for the filing of new civil and criminal cases, notices of appeal and submission of documents.

Recent observations by Bernama found that very few people were allowed into the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, while members of the media reporting on ongoing cases were only allowed to gather at the entrance gates of the complex, close to the guard post, to wait for information from passing lawyers or prosecutors.

In several states, a limited number of journalists have been allowed to follow proceedings of new court cases related to contraventions of the Movement Control Order. - Bernama

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