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Jinja High Court to Handle 46 Cases in Criminal Session :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Jinja High Court to Handle 46 Cases in Criminal Session

During a stakeholders' engagement at the Jinja High Court Tuesday, the Resident Judge Winfred Nabisinde urged defense lawyers assigned by the state to engage extensively with the accused individuals and promptly notify the court about those willing to participate in plea bargaining sessions.
The Jinja High Court is preparing to handle 46 criminal cases during the upcoming criminal session starting on November 27, 2023. This 40-day session will encompass serious offenses, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), aggravated robbery, torture, and other capital crimes.

The cases involve a range of charges: 28 cases of aggravated defilement, eight cases of aggravated robbery, six cases of murder, alongside charges of torture, trafficking in children, rape, and defilement. During a stakeholders' engagement at the Jinja High Court Tuesday, the Resident Judge Winfred Nabisinde urged defense lawyers assigned by the state to engage extensively with the accused individuals and promptly notify the court about those willing to participate in plea bargaining sessions.

Judge Nabisinde emphasized that the plea bargaining process should prioritize justice over seeking unjustifiable outcomes. "Some accused persons think that their undertaking of plea bargain procedures is an act of extending a favor to the judiciary, yes it saves court time but, it should have implored in ways, which foster justice. We welcome plea bargain and willing parties should express their interest, but it should be reasonable and not marred with ridiculous proposals from accused persons in exchange for their freedom," she says.

Nabisinde also urged stakeholders in the criminal justice system—lawyers, police, prisons, and the judiciary—to demonstrate professionalism in executing their duties to ensure fair dispensation of justice. Herbert Katungi, the officer in charge of Kirinya Remand Prisons, commended the court's prioritization of the first-in/first-out approach in drafting the cause list for this session.   

He believes this approach will address complaints from inmates who have been on remand without trial for extended periods. "This session's approach, giving priority to those who have been in custody earlier, promotes fairness for accused individuals and ensures justice for all parties involved," Katungi mentioned. 

Katungi advised defense counsels to extensively discuss commitment warrants and definite sentences with the inmates to prevent unwarranted complaints during and after the session. He further mentioned that the prison leadership would provide breakfast, lunch, and supper for all inmates participating in the session to support their endurance during the trial.

Meanwhile, Deputy Registrar Fred Waninda stated that the session's budget is 29 million Shillings. These funds will cover the transportation of witnesses and support defense lawyers assigned by the state. Waninda acknowledged the inadequacy of funds but highlighted plans to facilitate witnesses in distant locations using audio-visual technologies in different courts across the country to reduce transport costs. This criminal session will be jointly managed by Resident Judge Nabisinde and Lady Justice Faridah Bukirwa.

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