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Magistrate vows to resign should appellant court revoke his decision

Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A chief magistrate has vowed to resign should a lawyer whose evidence documents he has dismissed succeed on appeal in a higher court.

The Luwero Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe and the lawyer representing residents in a land case have clashed over the submission of non-stamped documents in court.

The lawyer, James Bagonza of Bagonza and Company Advocates appeared at Luwero Chief Magistrates Court to represent his clients Edward Mawejje and Ausi Gayira. The two were dragged to court by Richard Kaddu, a resident of Kabira Bulinde village in Katikamu sub county, Luwero district.

Kaddu dragged the two to court for trespass and wanted court to declare that he was the lawful owner of the four disputed acres of land.

However, when counsel Bagonza appeared in court, he filed an oral application seeking for the dismissal of the case saying that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case on grounds that the land was above 50 million shillings.

Bagonza tabled a consent valuation form to back his submission but the lawyer for the plaintiff Steven Kiyaga of Kob Advocates and Solicitors company objected to the application saying it must be subjected to investigations before its accepted.

Kiyaga argued that the form was not stamped and the counsel was supposed to present a proper valuation form signed by a certified land valuer.

The Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe said the form as it was could have been printed anywhere and presented to court since it had no name of the officer signing it as well as the official stamp.

The proceedings heated up when lawyer Bagonza further tried to defend the form that it is admissible but the Magistrate said he didn’t want to hear further arguments.

Munobe offered to read several sections of the Magistrate Court Act to educate the lawyer on the matter but Bagonza disregarded them saying he wasn’t given enough time to defend it and was aware of where he could file an appeal on the case.

But Munobe ruled that having considered rules in the Magistrate Court Act, he had decided to dismiss the application because the document is not valid and it is intended to delay justice.

Munobe told Bagonza that he will resign from the judiciary if he succeeds in the appeal.

“Let me say it clearly before the court, if you succeed in that appeal for review, I will drop out of judiciary,” Magistrate Munobe repeated the vow twice.

He later adjourned the case to 3rd November for hearing.

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