Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The trial of Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County Member of Parliament, hit a snag Tuesday because of the failure by the court officials to trace files of earlier proceedings from their archives.
Ssekikubo was arraigned before the Masaka Chief Magistrate, Deogratius Ssejjemba on January 16th, 2020 for illegal illegal possession of a gun, obstruction of a police officer on duty, destruction of National Resistance Movement-NRM party election materials and inciting violence during the Sembabule district NRM party primaries in August 2010.
He was also charged with inciting violence that led to the destruction of milk carriers and assault of milk venders, which occurred on January 10th this year, when he led a public protest against the enforcement of the disputed quarantine in Sembabule district.
However, on Monday court failed to proceed with the trial after the defense lawyers led by Medard Lubega Ssegona told the magistrate that the state had failed disclose how they intend to proceed with prosecution.
Ssegona specifically argued that the state was erroneously reinstating a case of 2010, which was heard and dismissed by court because of poor prosecution and lack of evidence against his client.
He told court that they have since applied to both the Office of the Resident State Attorney and Court Registry to furnish them with records of the earlier court proceedings in vain.
He argued that the failure by the state to avail the records shows that it isn’t ready to support prosecution and therefore asked court to dismiss the matter.
In her response, the Masaka Assistant Resident State Attorney, Amina Akasa told court the delays are due to underlying intents to amend the charge sheet to include other accused persons, such that they can have a comprehensive trial.
Her prayers for adjournment to allow them serve the defense with documents were struck by a confession by a court clerk only identified as Jane who told court that they had failed trace the records of the previous court proceedings.
“We have not been able to trace for the records from the available archives due to congestion in both the manual and online archive systems,” she noted. Adding that,” they need enough time to conduct the search.”
Similarly, the State also failed to proceed with prosecution of the second file of destruction of milk carriers on grounds that some of the accused persons are still at large.
The prevailing circumstances prompted the Chief Magistrate, Deogratous Ssejemba to adjourn both matters to April 7th. He instructed both parties to use the time provided to address the underlying contradictions delaying the trial.