Lawyers representing Rwenzururu king, Charles Wesley Mumbere and his co-accused have complained over the delayed investigations against their clients.
Appearing before the Jinja chief magistrate John Baptist Kaggwa, Caleb Alaka exchanged bitterly with Grace Nabaggala, the Jinja resident state attorney.
Trouble began when Nabaggala on Monday asked for more time saying inquiries into the matter were incomplete. Mumbere appeared before the court on three separate charges.
Although some of Mumbere’s charges were transferred to the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court on the 41 counts, he is still required to continue reporting in the Jinja magistrate’s court.
The defence lawyers yesterday expressed disappointment over the manner in which the state is investigating the matter.
Alaka argued that the Constitution provides for a fair and speedy trial but this was to the contrary in respect to his clients’ cases.
He asked court to compel the state to give a timeframe when the investigations would be completed.
“Are we going to be coming to court for mentioning and go, we want to find their readiness, are they ready or they are playing delaying games?” asked Alaka.
He also protested the procedure used to ascertain the age of some suspects saying some were exaggerated. He asked court to allow them have an independent medical expert to examine their age.
The magistrate also concurred with Alaka saying this was a major problem in Uganda with officials mixing up age and HIV results.
During the session, 8 more suspects who included three minors (names withheld), were brought in court and charged jointly with Mumbere.
Evans Achieng, also a defence lawyer, said the five suspects were tortured. The five who included a woman had been admitted at Bombo Military Hospital.
One of the suspects was limping on crutches. He showed court the scars saying he was cut with a machete.
Another one, identified as Muhindo showed to court his palms which he claimed was injured by a bullet. The woman claimed that she was shot and injured.
Court ordered the prison officers to transfer the suspects of advanced age with illness to Luzira. The case was adjourned to February 20.
In one of the cases, Mumbere faces 41 charges related to treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and malicious damage of property said to have been committed in Kasese district.
Although he was granted bail by Justice Eva Luswata of the Jinja High Court, Mumbere was ordered to keep reporting to the magistrate’s court to extend his court bail.
Consequently, his court bail was extended by the same court to February 20th.
Mumbere was also facing seven other charges jointly with 20 others. These were brought against him after he was granted bail and re-arrested.