Suspect Desh Kananura
The Panamera bar murder case trial failed to proceed today (Wednesday) after the state prosecutor told court that they failed to secure witnesses within the given time to have them testify.
"The case was adjourned on Tuesday to enable the police to secure witnesses but this morning we have not been able to bring any witness to court. However, the police have informed us that they have registered some progress in tracking them down," Jane Kajuga, a senior state prosecutor said.
She asked court to adjourn the matter for one more day to allow them ample time to trace the witnesses.
Her prayers were met by vehement opposition from the defence lawyers who described it as a move to stifle justice and an abuse to the court process. They demanded for written evidence from police to prove that they are tracking the witnesses and will be able to present them before court on Thursday.
"It is the defence position that we object to seeking yet another adjournment in this matter. When court on September 29, 2016, adjourned cases to this week, we believed that court had in mind the fact that prosecution had a list of 22 witnesses to rely on; they even served us with their statements. Why can't they produce one of them?" Chris Bakiza, a defence lawyer said.
"Proceedings are time bound and the prosecution is relying on order of court for adjournments, hopefully to secure a witness, but have not laid any evidence before court from police to confirm that they attempted to trace for the witnesses," he added.
Together with fellow defence lawyers, Paul Rutisya, Geoffrey Nangumya and Alex Tuhimbise, he asked court to direct the state to close its case and make final submissions instead of playing hide and seek games.
On September 30, 2012, Badru Kateregga an employee at the Naguru based bar was murdered. Desh Kananura the proprietor of the bar together with his brother Raymond Kananura, Cyrus Maganda, a body guard, Samuel Muzolewa, a private security guard at Kololo S.S and Jacob Onyango, a security guard at the bar, were arrested and charged with the murder.
According to the prosecution, they tortured Kateregga to death after he was found with sh30,000 which exceeded the allowed amount to be held by any worker at the bar.
Yesterday, Kajuga told court presided over by Justice Joseph Murangira that the defence argument that she is stifling the constitutional mandate of a fair hearing was baseless since the same constitution provides for a fair hearing not only for the accused but also the victims.
"Justice is not all about the rights of the accused and the prosecution should not therefore be considered to be not interested in justice. We have rights of victims too and the right to justice goes beyond the accused," she said.
He adjourned the case it to Thursday for further hearing