Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr. Stella Nyanzi has asked court through her lawyers, Isaac Ssemakadde and Derrick Bazekuketta to adjourn her case for a month to allow her find witnesses willing to testify on her behalf.
Bazekuketta made the request while presenting his submission before the Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu.
He argued that since court has refused to compel the 20 witnesses the defense mentioned to court, the accused needed a month to publish a notice in a newspaper of wide circulation and other media inviting willing witnesses.
He said the defense team will name willing witnesses within two weeks’ time. However, the prosecution team led by Timothy Amerit and Janet Kitimbo objected to the defense request for a month’s time to invite willing witnesses through news media.
Amerit noted that besides the defense trying to play delaying tactics so as to prolong the trial; it is alien in legal practice to advertise for witnesses. He said the defense request only shows that the accused doesn’t have witnesses and wants to go fishing.
Prosecution prayed defense closes its case with final submissions or else court delivers it judgment. Amerit noted prosecution sees no justification for the adjournment given the reasons advanced by the defense, saying it will only bring disrepute to the court.
However, in its response, the defense team led by Isaac Ssemakadde, said it be would unfair for court to compel defense to close its case. He observed that whereas the prosecution had eight months to conduct investigations and the hearings, court gave the defense team two days on July 3rd, 2019 to summon 20 witnesses and make submissions amidst the scarce resources, which makes it unfair.
Dr. Nyanzi had mentioned 20 witnesses and asked court to summon them to give expert opinion in her case. However, none of the witnesses showed up prompting Nyanzi to ask court through her lawyers to issue arrest warrants, a request that was rejected.
The Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu noted that the defense didn’t give court substantial reasons to compel the witnesses to appear. She noted that the witnesses are expected to be willing and known to the accused.
The defense also noted that although placing adverts in the papers to invite witnesses is unheard of, Nyanzi’s case would be the first. Kamasanya adjourned the matter to July 15th, 2019 to give her ruling.
Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a former research fellow at Makerere University, is charged with offensive communication and harassment of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the president of Uganda and his mother, the late Esteri.
She reported committed offense through a loutish birthday poem she posted on her Facebook on September 16th, 2019. She was arrested on November 22nd, 2018 and has since been on remand in Luzira prison.