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Court of appeal begins hearing criminal cases in Mbale via zoom technology

Chief Justice Alfonso Owinyi Dollo

Mbale, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The Acting Chief Justice Afonso Owinyi Dollo has officially opened the hearing of 40 criminal cases by the court of appeal sitting in Mbale.

The cases are being heard through zoom technology due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.     

The sessions which will last for one month will be presided over by Justice Frederick Egonda-Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki and Muzamiru Kibeedi.      

The cause-list of the 40 cases fixed for hearing include 17 murder related appeals, 12 aggravated defilement cases, 7 aggravated robberies among others.       

While addressing the media at the Mbale High Court this afternoon, Chief Justice Owinyi-Dollo said that the sessions will be heard through zoom to avoid the spread of COVID-19. He said this is the second court of appeal session after the one held in Mbarara last month.        

He expressed concerns over the limited number of judges in the judiciary which he said has constrained the administration of justice in the country.    

“I would have been happy if we have a team in Mbale today, simultaneously another team in Gulu and another in Fortportal, but we are constrained by our limitations, we don’t have the Justices for me to deploy. I have twelve active Justices but others are engaged in Constitutional matters, others in Civil matters,” he added.

He wished that every time a district is created, there is recruitment of a magistrate to take care of the district. He said that as government thinks of creating new constituencies they should also think of recruiting judicial officers for each of a constituency or districts created arguing that government should now recruit 47 Judges for the 47 constituencies recently approved by parliament.  

The Chief Justice also expressed bitterness with Judicial Officers who work on external pressure which makes them deliver judgments which people appeal over.    

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