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Court Dismisses Criminal Charges Against Mukono Businessman :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Court Dismisses Criminal Charges Against Mukono Businessman

On Monday, Mukono Chief Magistrate Roselyn Nsenge Turyatuga concurred with Turyatunga that Twinamasiko was erroneously arrested and charged for cases that were already before the High Court, and there was no need to hear them in the lower court. Her decision was mainly based on the evidence that there are ongoing civil suits before the High Court and that both parties had requested the court to determine land ownership.
Major Mark Wanyama, the complainant.

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Mukono Chief Magistrate's Court has dismissed criminal charges filed by Major Mark Wanyama against local businessman, Jackson Twinamasiko. Twinamasiko, through his lawyer, Steven Turyatunga, asked the court to dismiss criminal charges related to land disputes against him until the resolution of the civil suits pending before the High Court.   

His ordeal began on August 1, 2023, when he visited the Crime Investigations Department (CID) in Kibuli to follow up on a complaint he had filed against Ben Mugisha, a police officer attached to the land protection desk who cordoned off his workplace during night hours without official summons. However, to his surprise, Twinamasiko, found himself under arrest during this visit. He was charged with causing intentional property damage, removal of boundaries, and trespassing on land claimed by Major Mark Wanyama on Mbeya Island in Mpunge Sub-County in Mukono district. 

On Monday, Mukono Chief Magistrate Roselyn Nsenge Turyatuga concurred with Turyatunga that Twinamasiko was erroneously arrested and charged for cases that were already before the High Court, and there was no need to hear them in the lower court. Her decision was mainly based on the evidence that there are ongoing civil suits before the High Court and that both parties had requested the court to determine land ownership. Both the complainant and the accused filed civil suits before the High Court, asking them to declare them owners of the land, and they have different dates fixed for the hearing. 

There is a potential of clashing with the High Court decision once this court allows the criminal proceedings, the proceedings in this matter are hereby stayed pending the High Court decision. So, I order,” Nsenge ruled. The High Court also issued a temporary injunction allowing the defendant to continue using the land and restricting the complainant from stepping on the same land. During the hearing of the preliminary objection, the prosecution represented by Collins Ouma insisted that the matter before the court involves possession rather than ownership. Insisting that the trespass occurred on June 9, 2021. 

But Turyatunga maintained that the soldier used military force to take over land that was previously in civilian possession, going against an interim court order obtained on November 27, 2019, and a subsequent temporary injunction issued in February 2020. Nsenge said before her ruling that since it is evident that the contested land’s title does not belong to either the complainant or defendant and given the fact that there are court orders issued by a competent higher court, the principle of possession and ownership does not apply. 

“Since no one owns the land, and they are both still in court asking it to decide the owner. Charges of trespass, malicious damage, and removal of boundaries shall have been determined by the high court. Think of what will happen in case the respondent is convicted of criminal trespass and then the high court declares him the owner of the contested land," she noted.

Turyatunga has praised the court for staying the proceedings since they would create double jeopardy after the complainant decided to criminalize the matter, which he well understands is civil.

//Cue in: “The complainant, Major…

Cue out: …of court process,”//

Luganda Byte.

//Cue in: “Omusango gubadde mu…

Cue out: …poliisi nabuli wamu,”//    

Wanyama’s Lawyer Jabar Luyima is not content with the court’s decision, saying it was based on evidence without merit. He has not confirmed receiving instructions from his client to appeal.

//Cue in: “What happened today…  

 

Cue out: …shall definitely appeal”//       

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