KAMPALA - Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court is expected to deliver its ruling on the bail application of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) at about 2pm today in Kampala.
This was after the defence team presented their client's bail application to court, alongside three sureties - plus arguments for bail. The prosecution side was also given an opportunity to present their submission against bail for the legislator.
Kyagulanyi, the accused, followed proceedings remotely from Luzira Prison via the video conferencing system. He stood in a prison court dock, flanked by two prison officers, throughout the session.
After about three hours of proceedings, the trial magistrate, Esther Nahirya, decided to stand over the session for an hour, to allow her time to prepare the judgement on the bail application.
The verdict is expected at around 2pm local time.
Kyagulanyi was at the beginning of this week remanded to Luzira Prison after being charged with disobedience of statutory duty.
The charge sheet tendered before court showed that the musician-turned-politician faces charges of offences he allegedly committed last year. He is said to have held a public meeting without giving notice to any authorized officer or Police.
In its submission, the state argued that the court needed to "strike a balance between the individual rights of the applicant and the rights of society at large".
"The balance can only be well-struck by maintaining the applicant in safe lawful dentention facilities, like where he is at," said the state attorney.
"In doing so, the accused's rights of safety will be maintained along with the right of other members of society."
In response, the defence side submitted that " the right to liberty of an individual is a fundamental right" and is "next only to the individual's right to life".
For his bail application, Kyagulanyi presented MPs Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North), Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya County) and former ethics and integrity minister Miria Matembe to stand surety for him.
The prosecution side punched holes in the trio.
To begin with, the state attorney said that at 64, Matembe, a former member of the Pan-African Parliament, is of advanced age and is "not visibly capable to compel the applicant to adhere to the orders of court".
And about the other sureties: "The two are co-equals of the accused person and do not have any legitimate authority over the applicant".
The state argued: "For a person to qualify as a substantial surety, consideration is not merely based on status or prestige. The sole consideration is that the surety should be capable of compelling the accused person to appear in court. It is my submission that the sureties presented can only merely request the applicant to report to court, which request can be ignored."
On the place of abode, the prosecution argued that considering that Kyagulanyi lives in Magere, Wakiso district, the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has no jurisdiction over the residence of the applicant.
But while all the sureties present also reside "way outside" the jurisdiction of the court, "the law does not require the sureties to have a place of abode within the court's jurisdiction - unlike the applicant ", prosecution added.
The defence team's Samuel Muyizi Mulindwa said: "The test to be applied is a qualitative test - and this court can take judical notice that the sureties have well known public known residences."
"They [sureties] have a clear public nexus and private bond with the accused person," said lead defence counsel Asuman Basalirwa.
"Subtantiality has no relation with age. One of them is a neighbour [Matembe] and the other two are MPs who are always in Parliament with him. They have influence over him. Bail must not be hinged on financially ability," he said.
On the state's recommendations that if the accused is to be granted bail, it should be sh10m and cash, Basalirwa said that their client, being also a musician, had over 100 concerts of his cancelled.
He was also critical of the video conferencing system to conduct the bail application hearing, saying that "if it was not for the liberty of our client", they would not have submitted to the use of this mode of the application.
The lawyer called it an "ambush", saying they were "not able to consult with our client".
When offered a chance by the magistrate to speak, cautioning him to "refresh from political phrases", Kyagulanyi said: "My business is standing for the truth. My business is standing for what is morally right".
"If standing for what is right will keep me in prison, then I will thank God even more," he said.
After the magistrate broke off the session, Kyagulanyi's supporters chanted inside the packed courtroom.
Also related to this story
Bobi Wine back in court via video conferencing