On Tuesday, when the matter came up for mention before Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Sanula Nambozo, State Attorneys Joan Keko and Ivan Kyazze informed Court that they had instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions to take over the matter.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has applied to Buganda Road Magistrates Court to take over the case of offensive communication instituted against embattled city lawyer Male Mabirizi. Counsel Robert Rutaro Muhairwe instituted the charges against Mabirizi by way of private prosecution. He accused him of using his social media platforms to abuse High Court Civil Division Judge, Musa Ssekaana.
He alleged that the abuses were crafted in vulgarity. On Tuesday, when the matter came up for mention before Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Sanula Nambozo, State Attorneys Joan Keko and Ivan Kyazze informed Court that they had instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions to take over the matter.
They asked the court to direct Rutaro to furnish the State with all information and all documents pertaining to the proceedings to enable them to take over and continue with the case. In his response, Mabirizi who has occasionally criticized the DPP for taking over privately instituted cases and losing interest in them asked the court to reject the request.
He explains that the procedure under, which the DPP wants to take on the case is irregular and illegal. According to Mabirizi, he filed an application challenging the legality of the privately instituted case, saying that DPP cannot take over the matter before his application is disposed of.
He also accused Rutaroof of working with the State machinery to further persecute him. "It's a shocker that a man walks to court with papers against Mabirizi and when asked about the basis of his case and the court's jurisdiction, he disappears for some days and comes back with the State with no objection for taking over the case. This is a syndicated move to persecute me," said Mabirizi.
Mabirizi also argued that the DPP issued guidelines indicating that taking over any matter should be done after a charge sheet against an accused person has been done, which isn't the case in his matter. On his part, Rutaro through his lawyer, Precious Nahabwe raised no objection to the take over of the matter, saying that they will hand over the evidence, adding that the additional evidence in the case such as Mabirizi's phones can be brought by the State.
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The court adjourned the matter to March 28th, 2022.
Mabirizi's troubles started in January when the Attorney General filed an application asking the High Court Civil Division to find him guilty for Contempt of Court when he allegedly used his Twitter handle to abuse Judicial Officers.
Justice Ssekaana fined him Shillings 300 million and directed him to desist from attacking judicial officers. However, on February 15th 2022, the court found him guilty of the same offence for the second time. This time around he was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He has so far spent 22 days at Kitalya Min Max Prison as part of his punishment.
Unhappy with the decisions, Mabirizi allegedly posted abusive messages on his social media platforms that Rutaro, says were meant to embarrass and undermine the integrity of the Judge. He asked the Court to find him liable for offensive communication, criminal libel and offences prejudicial to judicial proceedings.
In a related incident, the Buganda Road Resident State Attorney, Joan Keko wrote to the same court on March 10th 2022 asking to take over the case in which Rutaro is accusing lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde of similar offences. His troubles started after standing in solidarity with Mabirizi shortly after the court made the decision to jail him. He reportedly also posted abusive statements attacking Justice Ssekaana on his Twitter handle.