Now, Samuel Munobe, the Luwero Chief Magistrate, says that as Members of Parliament discuss bail reforms, there is need to amend the MCA law and scrap the committal process, saying it's inconsistent with article 28 (1) and 44 (C).
The Luwero Chief
Magistrate, Samuel Munobe has called for the scrapping of the committal period, saying
it is inconsistent with the constitution. Section 166 of the Magistrate Courts Act (MCA) require magistrates to remand capital offenders till he/she appears before the high court since they lack jurisdiction
over capital matters. Section 168 of the same act
provides for the committal of the suspects facing capitals by the magistrate’s
court to the high court for trial.
Although the accused
persons are supposed to spend not more than six months on remand, many spend
years especially in areas like Luwero where less than four high court sessions
are organized annually. Now, Samuel Munobe, the Luwero Chief Magistrate, says that as Members of Parliament discuss bail reforms,
is need to amend the MCA law and
scrap the committal process, saying it's inconsistent with article 28 (1) and 44 (C).
It provides that in the
determination of civil rights and obligations or any criminal charge, a person
shall be entitled to a fair, speedy, and public hearing before an independent
and impartial court or tribunal established by law while Article 44 (C) prohibits derogation of the
right to a fair hearing. Munobe
questions whether there is fairness and expeditious
hearing if a person takes six months on remand.
“The process of committal takes time and infringes on rights, it is even
worse when we don’t have facilities to ensure the cases takes off after that
period,” Munobe said. Munobe says that such a lengthy court process forces people to
apply for bail, which wouldn’t be the
case if the hearing was expeditious.
He wants Parliament to abolish the
length committal process, provide the judiciary and Police with the necessary
resources to investigate and try the accused persons within the shortest time possible. "If there are sufficient
and well-facilitated judges in court, we can say a case should be tried within one
month and thereafter an accused person is either sentenced or freed, " Munobe said.
Denes Sekabira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament, says there are resources that can help the judiciary
to try accused persons in time but there is no political will from the executive
to recruit more judges and ensure
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At least 77 accused persons at Luwero Magistrate
Court facing capital offences are
yet to be committed to the high court for the hearing.
Although the judiciary operationalized Luwero
High Court, it is yet to commence
operations as no resident judge has
Recently, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the National
Resistance Movement caucus to consult on bail reforms and report back within