The facility automatically records both the audial and video footage of a testifying wittiness during a case hearing.
PIC:Justice Henry Adonyo the director Legal Studies Institute inducting judicial officers on Tuesday as Justice Musene looks on
The government of Uganda is set to procure visual audial links for all judicial courts to help speed up the case hearing processes Justice Henry Adonyo the director Legal Studies Institute has said.
A visual audial link is a facility that enables the giving and receiving of evidence through electronic means without a person physically appearing in court.
The facility automatically records both the audial and video footage of a testifying wittiness during a case hearing.Adonyo said that visual audial link will aid witnesses to give adequate information to court without fear or favor since they will not be intimidated by making them appear in courts of law.
“This will speed up the case hearing process. We also hope that it will help solve the challenge of case back log since ruling for most cases is delayed due to lack of enough evidence from witnesses who fear to testify before court” Adonyo said while inducting judicial officers from the Rwenzori region on how the visual audial link operates.
Apparently, the visual audial link is only in 3 judicial courts in Uganda that include the Kampala High Court, Mbale High Court and the Fort Portal High Court.Adonyo also said that the visual audial link is far better than the system where court clerks had to write down all that the witness says in court.
“Since the visual audial link records both the video and audial of the testifying witness, there is also an option of playing-back the recorded material before the judge gives his or her final ruling on a particular case. This we hope will also reduce chances of the conflicting parties to challenge the court ruling” Adonyo said
Adonyo however warned that a password to the visual audial link should only be given to a trust worthy officer who cannot temper or intentionally delete the recorded evidence.Justice Musalu Musene said that if used well the visual audial link provides relief from anxiety of giving evidence in open court, reduces on cost litigation and promotes witness protection.
Musene said that court may choose to hear a case on visual audial link on circumstances where the witness is out Uganda, where proceedings relate to sexual offences, situations where a witness feels unsafe to testify in open court among others.
“Where a party seeks to use the visual audial link, he or she shall apply to court for approval of the venue, time, person or institution to facilitate or assist in the proceedings away from the court” Justice Musene said.
He also explained that in cases where a party objects to the visual audial link proceedings, he or she shall within five days after receipt of notice of the application of the visual audial link proceedings ,file an objection letter stating reasons for the objection and shall serve a copy on the opposite party.
Justice Anthony Ayoko the resident judge Fort Portal high court stressed the need for finding an alternative permanent source of power to enable judicial courts to function even when hydro electronic power is off.
“The visual audial link will remain redundant in the court of law if we do not have an alternative source of power” Ayoko said.