Magistrates to stay at Anti-Corruption CourtPublish Date: Mar 25, 2014
Magistrates to stay at Anti-Corruption Court
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Principal State Attorney Patricia Mutesi after the judgment at Supreme Court. PHOTO/ Tony Rujuta.

By Hillary Nsambu                              
Chief Magistrates and Grade One Magistrates must continue with their work as judicial officers at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court without interruption, the Supreme Court has ruled.

 “Any person adversely affected by the exercise of jurisdiction by any magistrate is free to seek appropriate judicial remedy,” the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court dismissed an application in which a Kampala lawyer, Davis Wesley Tusingwire, had sought to discontinue magistrates from sitting at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court; arguing that their inclusion in the division was a violation of the Constitution.

Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe headed the coram that unanimously dismissed the application. The other members of the panel were Justices Jotham Tumwesigye, Dr Esther Kisaakye-Kitimbo, John Wilson Tsekooko and Christine Nakaseeta Kitumba.

Tusingwire had earlier lost a petition in the Constitutional Court by a 4-1 majority judgment in which the court ordered that the trials at the Anti-Corruption Court should proceed with the magistrates sitting at it as mandated judicial officers.

Tusingwire had earlier lost a petition in the Constitutional Court by a 4-1 majority judgment in which the court ordered that the trials at the Anti-Corruption Court should proceed with the magistrates sitting at it as mandated judicial officers.

 The applicant had challenged the validity of the High Court Anti-Corruption Division on practicing directions by the Chief Justice. He had also sought a stay of execution of the judgment of the Constitutional Court, saying that he had filed an application to stay the lower court’s orders.

“We have carefully considered the arguments and submissions of both counsel. We reiterate that we have decided in numerous cases before that in this type of application it has to be shown that there is a likelihood of success in the appeal.
It must also be shown that there is a danger if irreparable harm being suffered by the applicant if the orders sought are not granted and the balance of convenience must favour the applicant,” the court ruled.

They court also ruled that at that stage it could not go into the Constitutionality of the direction issued by the Chief Justice. It was further ruled that the constitutionality of the directions and practice issued by the Chief Justice would be considered at the appeal stage.

The court ruled that the applicant would not suffer irreparable damages if the order sought was not granted and that the balance of convenience is more in favour of the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.                                                       


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