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Respect the sub-judice rule - Lawyers, journalists warned

By Betty Amamukirori, Edward Anyoli, Pascal Kwesiga

Added 7th March 2016 09:01 PM

Before the court could be dissolved, Muhammed Mbabazi brought to the attention of the Chief Justice that early this morning, 13 witnesses in the petition were arrested by security officers at Mbabazi's residence and detained at Kireka SIU

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Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana heads President-elect Museveni's legal machinery. Lawyers and journalists have been warned to respect the sub-judice law. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

Before the court could be dissolved, Muhammed Mbabazi brought to the attention of the Chief Justice that early this morning, 13 witnesses in the petition were arrested by security officers at Mbabazi's residence and detained at Kireka SIU

Lawyers, journalists and members of the public have been warned against disobeying the sub-judice rule by discussing matters before court on broadcast stations.

Sub-judice means that a particular matter is before court or under trial and a sub-judice rule regulates the publication of such matters.

"I am surprised to hear that even the lawyers who are aware of the rule and its consequences, discussing matters before court on radios and televisions," Bart Katureebe, the Chief Justice said.

 hief ustice art atureebe talks to Chief Justice Bart Katureebe (right) talks to

 

He said that when members of the public file matters before court, it means that they trust in the courts' discretion and therefore, court should be allowed to do its work.

"Stop discussing court matters on TVs and radio stations. No matter what your intentions are, whether to bias judgment or intimidate the judges, you shall suffer the consequences," he warned.

 

Katureebe was speaking after giving a ruling on whether or not to allow a new amended petition filed by former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi, seeking to annul the poll results.

In their ruling read by Justice Eldad Mwangusya on behalf of the full bench, the judges agreed with Mbabazi's lead counsel, Muhammed Mbabazi that the basis of the petition demands that the amendment be allowed.

"We have listened to the submissions of all the parties and studied the relevant laws, and we agree with Mbabazi that the basis of the case demands that the petition be allowed," Mwangusya said.

 

Katureebe then ordered the respondents, Electoral Commission, Attorney General and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to file their responses before end of Wednesday. He also rescheduled the pre-hearing session to Thursday to discuss ways on how to proceed.
Witnesses arrested

Before the court could be dissolved, Muhammed Mbabazi brought to the attention of the Chief Justice that early this morning, 13 witnesses in the petition were arrested by security officers at Mbabazi's residence and detained at Kireka SIU.


Some of those allegedly arrested are, Robert Ngobi, Betty Shifuko, Wilson Kigombya, Samuel Kiyaga, William Waiswa, Umaru Kitimbo, Ben Kabbi and Ronald Waiswa.

"I know that there is no witness protection scheme in this court but since the AG is here, it is our humble submission that court asks him to prevail over the security agencies to stop the arrests," Mbabazi said.

In his response, Katureebe said that he could not ascertain the truthfulness of the allegations but is concerned by the arrests of innocent people. He said that since Fredrick Ruhindi was in court, he should prevail over the issue.

Katureebe gave the respondents up to Wednesday to file their response and Saturday to file their affidavits in reply. Any rejoinder is to be filed by Sunday before the main trial on Monday 14.


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