Otunnu’s trial which started early this month was conducted in closed chambers in a bid to protect witnesses from threats. But the nature of the threats was not revealed to court.
A lawyer representing former Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party President Dr. Olara Otunnu who is battling charges of defamation, has asked court to conduct his trial in open court.
Otunnu’s trial which started early this month was conducted in closed chambers in a bid to protect witnesses from perceived threats. But the nature of the threats was not revealed to court.
On Tuesday, the trial flopped after Otunnu’s lawyer Asuman Basalirwa rejected the hearing of the case in camera on grounds that there was no security threat to witnesses as alleged by State prosecutor Peter Mugisha.
“Your worship, last time I was misled by the state to believe that if the witness testifies in open court, his life will be in danger, the state does not even show how the witness will suffer,” Basalirwa said.
Basalirwa said that even the witness Gideon Tugume, a former Top TV reporter did not object to the hearing of the case in open court and that Otunnu is a diplomat and an advocate of peace who cannot cause any harm to the witness.
Prosecution alleges that on January 16, 2013 at UPC party headquarters in Kampala, Otunnu with intent to defame President Museveni released a publication of a defamatory matter.