HRNJ-Uganda alert, Court fixes hearing date in Journalist’s ‘obstruction’ case

Kampala, 13th/October/2014; The Magistrate’s Court at the Law Development Center in Kampala has fixed the 12th of November to hear a case where HRNJ-U Board Chairperson Mulindwa Mukasa, a journalist with the Associated Press is accused of ‘obstruction’ by the Wandegeya Police Station Commander, Julius Caesar Tusingwire.

This was after court presided over by the Senior Principal Magistrate Grade 1, Shwanda Nkore Jolly overruled a preliminary objection by Mulindwa through his Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde to dismiss the case on grounds that service of criminal summons was improper, occasioning a miscarriage of justice as he was served through a text message by the investigation officer through a third party. Nkore, in her ruling, howewver stated that the process of service did not occasion a miscarriage of justice.

There is no miscarriage of justice occasioned by the failure of police or a process server to file an affidavit of service. The case first came up for trial on the 15th day of July but the accused was not in court. Prosecution prayed for criminal summons which were duly issued for the accused to appear on the 30th of July. The accused appeared on this date and took plea; therefore the objection has been overtaken by events. However, a complaint should have been raised had a warrant of arrest been issued,” ruled Nkore

Prosecution led by Naluzze Aisha Batala told court that the investigations into the matter are complete and therefore prayed for a hearing date. Catherine Anite, counsel for the accused asked court to avail her with a copy of the prosecution file so as to prepare for defence.

It is alleged that on 26th November 2013, Mulindwa obstructed a police officer, Julius Caesor Tusingwire from arresting a suspect at Wandegeya police station. Prior to these criminal charges, Mulindwa dragged Tusingwire to the High Court praying for his dismissal from the police force, over inhumane and degrading treatment, a case scheduled for hearing on the 13th of November 2014 before Justice Lydia Mugambe.

We believe that this case should have been dismissed due to failure by the police to apply the law on proper service. Court should ensure that laws are religiously observed. HRNJ-Uganda will support Mulindwa through this court process as this case was instituted by the police in bad faith, it’s a tramped up charge which we must fight to the end,” said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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