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Nyanzi insists on open court hearing

By Douglas Mubiru

Added 11th October 2019 12:07 AM

The trial judge forwarded Nyanzi’s case to the Principal Judge, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine, to decide on how the two appeals should heard.

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The trial judge forwarded Nyanzi’s case to the Principal Judge, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine, to decide on how the two appeals should heard.

Jailed former Makerere University research fellow, Dr. Stella Nyanzi, wants her case heard in open court.

This comes after the trial judge, Lady Justice Flavia Anglin Senoga, vowed to hear both the appeals in her sitting chambers, excluding the public and journalists.

However, Nyanzi through her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde objected to the judge’s decision saying it was and will be unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid to hear their appeals in ‘closed court.’

“Articles 20(20), 28(1), 28(1)(a), 126(1) and 127 of the constitution require this court to promote the participation of the people in the administration of justice by conducting its proceedings in a public hearing observed by members of the press,” Ssemakadde said.

Prior to objection, the trial judge directed the defense to avail her with any law that bars her from hearing the two appeals in the secrecy of her chambers but in vain.

The defense also petitioned the court to manifest the justice that is ought to be done.

“Justice must not only be done but must manifestly be seen to be done, this is the norm of majority courts all over the world,” a court document reads in part.

This forced the trial judge to forward Nyanzi’s case to the Principal Judge Hon. Justice Yorokamu Bamwine, the head of all judges of the High Court in Uganda, decide on how the two appeals should be heard.

Background
Nyanzi appealed to the High Court seeking it to quash her conviction and 18 months sentence for cyber harassment by the Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu having found her guilty.

She also asserts that the same court erred and entertained the case against her yet it had no jurisdiction.

However, the state too appealed to the same court seeking it to convict Nyanzi on offensive communication on grounds that the lower court failed to properly evaluate the evidence on record thereby arriving at a wrong conclusion of acquitting Nyanzi.

By press time, the date to which the case was slated is not known, as the file is now pending to the Principal Judge to decide on how the case will be heard.  

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