Criminal High Court Session Commences in Kitgum

2037 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Moses Ogwal, a Paralegal attached to Kitgum prison told the judge that nine suspects on remand have embraced plea bargaining.

Forty eight cases have been lined up for hearing in the High Court criminal session in Kitgum district. The criminal session, which commenced this morning, is being presided over by Margaret Mutonyi, the Gulu High Court Resident Judge.

The session will last for forty days. Justice Mutonyi gave a breakdown of the cases while launching the court session this morning.
//Cue in "Out of the 48 cases…….
Cue out "…mentally challenged"//
According to Mutonyi, all sexual cases involving minors will be heard in camera. She also said court will hear some of the cases on Saturdays to be able to conclude them. 

Moses Ogwal, a Paralegal attached to Kitgum prison told the judge that nine suspects on remand have embraced plea bargaining. Under plea bargaining, a suspect pleads guilty for a lesser punishment.
He said six of the suspects were charged with murder, one with rape and two others for defilement. Justice Mutonyi accepted the request and urged Henry Twinomuhwezi, the Gulu High Court Assistant Registrar to organize the files of the said suspects.

The last criminal court session was held in Kitgum in 2013, where 40 cases were heard. There are 150 suspects on remand in Gulu Central prisons waiting for trial. 

Japyem Okongo, the Kitgum Chief Magistrate, says there are over 700 cases lined up in the magistrate's court waiting to be disposed.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.