Breaking

Luwero Magistrate Asks MPs to Abolish Lengthy Committal Process

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).
File Photo; Luwero Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe on right hand while welcoming the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera during his visit to the court recently

Audio 2

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, there 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 expeditious hearings.

// Cue in: “ It is not…

   

Cue out;…Museveni regime”

  

Luganda Byte   

//Cue in: “Ekitegekesawo okweyimirira…  

Cue out;…bulijjo abaddewa”//  

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 been posted.

Recently, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the National Resistance Movement caucus to consult on bail reforms and report back within two weeks.