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DPP yet to receive proceedings in Mabirizi offensive communication case

Male Mabirizi in court. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | State prosecutors have told Buganda Road Magistrates Court that they have not yet received a typed copy of proceedings in the offensive communication case against lawyer Male Mabirizi.

Robert Rutaro Muhairwe accuses Mabirizi of using his social media platforms to abuse Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana. He argued that the posts were meant to reduce Ssekaana’s self-esteem and to embarrass him in front of the right-thinking members of society.

Muhairwe asked the court to convict Mabirizi and send him to prison on charges of offensive communication, criminal libel, and offenses prejudicial to judicial proceedings.

Two weeks ago, the state led by Joseph Kyazze informed court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Sanula Nambozo that they had instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions-DPP to take over the case from Rutaro.

They asked court to direct Rutaro to avail all the evidence and necessary information in his possession to enable them to take over and continue with the case. The State also asked the court to avail them with a copy of the proceedings about the progress of the case.

Mabirizi had objected to the DPP’s decision to take over the case on grounds that the procedure under which the DPP wants to take on the case is irregular and illegal.

According to Mabirizi, he filed an application challenging the legality of the privately instituted case, saying that DPP cannot take over the matter before his application is disposed of. He also accused Rutaro of working with the state machinery to further persecute him.

But the case was adjourned to enable the prosecutors to make a response to what Mabirizi had stated.

When the case came up on Monday, the Buganda Road Court Resident State Attorney Joan Keko informed court that they had not filed a response to Mabirizi’s objection on grounds that they have not yet been availed with records of the court proceedings. But Nambozo informed the parties that the proceedings were ready and that she was to give both parties a copy.

Mabirizi had no objection but said that it’s the states duty to look for the court proceedings and that no one is there to avail them to her just like that if they don’t look for them.

The case was then adjourned to April 12, 2022.

Mabirizi’s troubles started in January when the Attorney General filed an application asking the High court to find him guilty of contempt of court when he allegedly used his Twitter handle to abuse judicial officers.

Ssekaana fined him 300 million shillings and directed him to desist from attacking judicial officers.

However on February 15, 2022, the court found him guilty of the same offense for the second time. This time around he was accordingly sentenced to 18 months in jail.

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