By Pascal Kwesiga
COMMERCIAL court Judge, David Wangutusi, has warned police against parading suspects before the media, saying the practice violates the cardinal principal of presumption of innocence.
According to the constitutional article 28 sub section 3, every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until proved guilty or until that person has pleaded guilty.
Wangutusi said the police have continued to violate the supreme law by parading suspects as criminals before the media with impunity because the people are ignorant of the law.
He explained that one can sue government even after they have been convicted by court as long as they were presented as convicts before trial.
“I expect the police public relations officers who parade the suspects to be aware of the law,” Wangutusi said.
By parading suspects before the media, the judge added, the police spoil the fundamental ingredient of suspect identification by the witness in a trial.
“If someone has already been identified as a criminal on Television, which court can believe the witness is telling the truth. And suspect identification is very important in a trial,” Wangutusi said.
He was speaking at a human rights dialogue in Kampala on Friday. Human rights activists also want the police to stop parading terror suspects, saying “most of those they have paraded before have not been convicted”.
James Kusemererwa, from the police’s directorate of legal and human rights said the institution would ensure parading of suspects stops.
“It has been a mistake on our side and we are going to handle it. It should stop,” he added.