Court of Appeal to handle 20 Cases in Mbale

MBALE-On Monday, the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera flagged off a Criminal Appeals Session at Mbale High Court where 25 appeals are going to be handled.

The Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera inspecting the guard of honor at Mbale High Court. (Photos by Judiciary)

The four-day session is presided over by Justices; Fredrick Martin Stephen Egonda-Ntende, Christopher Gashirabake and Oscar Kihika.

The cause list, signed by the Court’s Deputy Registrar, HW Lillian Bucyana, shows that there are 16 Murder Appeals, five Defilement, three Robbery cases to be handled during the session. One appellant wants the Court to overturn a Manslaughter conviction.

While addressing stakeholders, the DCJ encouraged them to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in both criminal and civil cases, using mechanisms such as Mediation, Plea Bargaining, and Small Claims Procedure to expedite case resolution.

He encouraged the usage of plea bargains at the initial stage of criminal cases, and emphasized the Judiciary’s commitment to clearing case backlog.

Justice Buteera noted the need to strengthen the capacity for all justice institutions in order to address the increasing caseload and case backlog.

He stressed the need for Police to report on the status of investigations noting that as the courts increase coverage, cases will be promptly heard when police investigations are conducted and concluded in a timely manner.

Justice Egonda-Ntende, who is heading the panel of the Justices in the session, noted that despite efforts to increase prison capacity, the high number of remands signals a flaw in the criminal justice system. He urged Judicial Officers to focus on ensuring trials prioritize plea agreements for suspects instead of relying solely on remand.

Justice Godfrey Namundi, the Head of Mbale High Court Circuit, thanked the Court of Appeal for taking services closer to the public they serve.

He noted the need for a Court of Appeal Civil Session as well.

Justice Namundi informed the Deputy Chief Justice that also mentioned the allocation of land for constructing the Court of Appeal in Mbale, expressing hope for swift construction, emphasizing the benefits of an early completion. He extended gratitude to the administration of Mbale city for their enabling support in this endeavor.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Ojok Alex Michael, advocated for an increase in the number of state attorneys to handle the growing number of judicial officers and the expanding caseload. He underscored the importance of timely funding to support their responsibilities.

Mbale City Lord Mayor, Mr. Namugali Kassim, commended the Judiciary for extending court services nationwide, underscoring the enhanced accessibility it brings.

He called on the Judiciary to enhance its judicial workforce to expedite the handling of criminal cases and ensure timely justice.

In attendance were the Mbale High Court Resident Judges: Lady Justice Margaret Apiny and Justice Lubega Farouq.

Present were HW Rukundo Allen Owembabazi (Court of Appeal Ag Registrar), Deputy Registrars Dr. Mushabe Alex Karocho (Private Legal Secretary to the DCJ), HW Bucyana (Court of Appeal), and HW Mukanza Robert (Mbale High Court). HW Awidi Suzan (Chief Magistrate, Mbale), and HW Gakyaro Allan (Personal Assistant to the DCJ).

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