The Chief Justice has refused to be swayed by presidential directives and has insisted that the Judiciary will not bend its procedures in regards to bail for suspects under the law.
President Yoweri Museveni directed that suspects on capital offences like murder should not benefit from police bond or court bail.
But the Judiciary in a statement released Friday insisted that courts of law shall continue to be guided by the constitution and the law on matters to do with bail application.
The statement from the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe, is a response to Museveni’s speech during the National Budget Day in which he declared that “bail for killers is not acceptable”.
“The issue of bail is governed by the Constitution and the law. Until the law is amended, bail will be granted or denied in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” Katureebe is quoted in a statement issued by the Judiciary’s Public Relations Officer Vincent Mugabo and Senior Communications Officer Solomon Muyita.
Katureebe added that according to Uganda’s constitution all accused persons are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a trial.
He said under the law accused persons have a right to apply for bail and the courts have the discretion to grant or deny bail.
The statement added: “The law provides adequate safeguards and the courts take into account a number of considerations, including the matters of public safety, before they grant bail.”
The statements provides notes that indicate that: The right to apply for bail is provided for in the 1995 Constitution of Uganda (as amended); the Magistrates Court Act Cap 16 (MCA); and Trial on Indictment Act, Cap 23 (TIA). Article 23 (6)(a) of the Constitution provides for the right of an accused person to apply to court to be released on bail subject to the legal requirements and conditions, which must be fulfilled before court grants bail.
Article 23(6)(b) gives the accused person before a Magistrates Court the right to be released on bail, if the person has been on remand for sixty (60) days before trial.
Article 23(6)(c) gives a person charged with a capital offence the right to be released on bail if he or she has spent one hundred and eighty days (180) on remand before their committal to the High Court for trial.