Nineteen suspects on remand at Luzira Prison, who were being tried by the suspended Anti Corruption Court, have petitioned the Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma to among other options reconsider releasing them on bail.
The 19 suspects say the future of the Anti Corruption Court is uncertain following the July 12 Constitutional Court ruling that suspended its operations. The suspects argue that this has deprived them of their right to liberty as enshrined in Article 28 and 23 of the constitution.
They also contend that the ruling did not give them a remedial order and that it’s a practice when a given court is being challenged before the Constitutional Court, the accused persons involved, if on remand are to be released on bond upon presenting substantial sureties.
In their petition, the inmates want Justice Kavuma to help them by either expeditiously disposing of the main petition or by way of a supplementary order for them to be released on court bond.
Speaking to the media recently, Kavuma said the main petition will be handled with urgency given that it’s a constitutional matter.
On July 12, the Constitutional Court stayed all the criminal proceedings arising from the Chief Magistrates and Grade One Magistrate attached to the Anti Corruption Division of the High Court, until the substantive petition challenging the composition of the magistrates’ court is determined.
The Constitutional Court petition No.2 of 2013 was filed by David Wesley Tusingwire against the Attorney General. Tusingwire is challenging the inclusion of magistrates in the Anti-corruption Court which is a division of the High Court.
While temporarily suspending the operations of the court, a panel of three Justices led by Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, noted that their decision will not have any effect on already decided cases and that only the continuing cases should be stayed until the substantive petition is disposed of.