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Court dismisses case against DP activist

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Law Development Centre Magistrate’s Court has dismissed a case against Moses Bigirwa, a Uganda Young Democrats -UYD activist.

It is alleged that Bigirwa on December, 29th, 2018 while on Top Radio said that the government had hatched a plan to assassinate Kyaddondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu during the Arua by election fracas.

He was later arrested and charged with publication of false news.

However on Wednesday, court was supposed to rule on his bail application but instead Roselyn Nsenge, the Magistrate Law Development Centre dismissed the case on grounds that the charge against Bigirwa is defective because it was scrapped from the laws of Uganda.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that the offense of publishing false news was null and void.

The late Justice Joseph Mulenga ruled that the right to freedom of expression protects not only that which can be proven to be true. He warned that the offence dated from colonial times and that the prohibition of false news served no meaningful purpose.

Prior to her ruling, the Nsenge faulted Bigirwa’s lawyers Asuman Basalirwa and Samuel Muyizi and the prosecution for failing to bring it to her attention that the charge against the suspect was defective.

But the State Prosecutor Roseline Kipolwa asked court to allow her an adjournment arguing that the police file was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution for scrutiny.

However, the defence lawyers objected arguing that once court declares charges as being defective the accused is automatically acquitted and no more extension of the matter.

The Magistrate later asked the parties to file in written submissions from which she will decide whether the matter to be referred to the Constitutional court for interpretation or not.

Bigirwa spent a week in police cells before being remanded to Luzira prison last week.
The matter will resume on January, 21st, 2019.

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