The Constitutional Court has stopped all criminal proceedings that are currently going on in the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo
By Hillary Nsambu
The Constitutional Court has stopped all criminal proceedings that are currently going on in the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo, arising from the Chief Magistrate and Grade I Magistrate until the final determination of a constitutional petition challenging the formation of that court.
The petition that is pending hearing and determination was filed in the Constitutional Court by a Kampala lawyer, Davis Wesley Tusingwire through his lawyers Fred Muwema and Richard Mulema-Mukasa, seeking interpretation of the provisions of the law that establishes the Anti-Corruption Court.
Phillip Mwaka, Principal State Attorney, represented the Attorney General and had opposed the application, saying that it did not bear any merit, misconceived and an abuse of the court process.
However the court allowed the application and ruled: “The criminal proceedings currently going on in the High Court Anti-Corruption Division at Kololo before, and those arising from the Chief Magistrate and Magistrate grade I or any other magistrate attached to the HCACD at kololo be and are hereby stayed pending the disposal of Constitutional Petition No 2 of 2013 or until such other further orders of this court.”
However, the court ruled further: “The orders made herein shall not have retrospective application to proceedings taken and concluded by the HCACD prior to the delivery of this ruling.”
Acting Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Steven Kavuma headed the coram. The other members included Justices Augustine Sebutulo Nshimye and Remmy Kasule.
The court disagreed with state attorney Mwaka’s argument that staying the criminal proceedings at the Anti-Corruption Court would greatly and adversely affect the operation of the country’s criminal justice system and that it would cause a stampede; saying that it was not necessarily so.
“First, the position at law is that where the constitutionality of any pproceedings, Act, act or omission is being questioned and a prima-facie case is made out, then such proceedings, Act, act or omission should be stayed,” the court ruled.
Earlier, Muwema and Mulema-Mukasa had submitted that the petition of their client seeks declaration and orders that the exercise of judicial duties in the Anti-Corruption Court by the Chief Magistrate and Grade I Magistrate is unconstitutional.
It had also been submitted that the petition raised substantial grounds requiring constitutional interpretation and it disclosed a proper case that has high likelihood of success.
Criminal trials at Anti-Corruption Court halted