High Court Judge Wilson Masalu-Musene has declined to hear a case in which city businessman Andrew Kananura alias Desh is accused of beating his former employee, Badru Katerega to death.
When the inaugural hearing of the murder charges against Kananura and four others was set to kick off today (Tuesday), Musene cited a story that he read in a local tabloid over the case as his reason for disqualifying himself.
Musene argued that a story containing misleading information purporting that he had personal interests in the case.
"Not only do I have 40 cases in this criminal session, I also have over 300 cases waiting for me to preside over in other criminal sessions. I put it on record that the case be allocated to a different judge for justice to prevail," he pronounced.
Musene said it was wrong for the tabloid to publish a story stating that while he was the resident Judge at Nakawa division of the High Court, he refused to transfer the matter to High Court, Criminal division arguing that Nakawa had ultimate jurisdiction to handle the case.
Kananura appeared before Musene together his brother Raymond Kananura, Cyrus Maganda, security guard Samuel Muzulewa and Jacob Onyango over the murder of Katerega, a former bar attendant at Panamera Bar and Restaurant located in the city suburb of Naguru.
According to the penal code, any person who is convicted of murder faces a maximum penalty of death.
Much as the case failed to take off, the Director of Public Prosecution spokesperson, Jane Kajuga Okuo, was ready and had come to court with five witnesses lined up to testify against the accused, including relatives of the deceased.
According to court documents, prosecution alleges that on September 30, 2012, the accused tortured Katerega to death after they found him with sh30, 000 that exceeded the allowed amount to be held by any worker at the bar.
Desh and his co-accused are currently out on bail. On January 19, 2013, Desh, the lead suspect, who had been on the run since Katerega was killed, was arrested at Entebbe Airport on his return from United Kingdom.
Three days later, he was charged before City Hall Court in Kampala and remanded to Luzira Prison for the alleged murder. In the same year, court granted him sh20m bail on grounds that although he was charged in absentia, he returned to the country and was formally charged.
On May 15, 2014, the accused were sent to the Nakawa division of the High Court for trial by City Hall Court Grade One Magistrate Juliet Hatanga.