Mumbere's Bail Application Hearing Fails to Take Off

2266 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
Rachael Bikhole, the principal state attorney from the Directorate of Public Prosecution objected to the bail hearing, saying since the King is also facing terrorism, his application should be heard by the International Crimes Division of the High Court that has the jurisdiction over terrorism cases.

Hearing of the bail application of Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere failed to take off this morning in Jinja high court following preliminary objection by the state. 

Government dragged Mumbere, his prime minister and 161 royal guards to court in November last year on 41 counts including treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery. 
 
 
The charges stem from the Kasese clashes on November 26th and 27th, 2016, which claimed lives of several police officers and royal guards. On December 16th, Mumbere applied for bail through his lawyers, Alaka & Co Advocates and Ochieng Associates Advocates pending his trial. 

In his application, Mumbere pointed out that it is his constitutional right to bail. He assured court that he will not interfere with investigations into the Kasese killings. Mumbere also said he has substantial sureties who are willing stand for him and has fixed places of abode at Muyenga Cell, Nyakabingo II in Kasese and in Makindye, Kampala.

The bail application came up for hearing this morning before Justice Eva Luswata in Jinja high court. However, Rachael Bikhole, the principal state attorney from the Directorate of Public Prosecution objected to hearing, saying since the King is also facing terrorism, the application should be heard by the International Crimes Division of the High Court that has the jurisdiction to hear terrorism charges.
 
 
He argued that the rules of International Crimes Division of the High Court demand that cases such as terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity and bail application are heard before that same court. Bikhole also argued that even bail applications in terrorism charges should be heard by a judge or a panel of Justices in the International Crimes Division or any judge designated by the principal judge.


 
Caleb Alaka, Mumbere's lead lawyer couldn't have any of this. He argued that since the rules of the International Crimes Division of the High court talk of a trial judge, this is only applicable to a trial, which is not the case on the matter before court. Alaka added that the ICD practice directions could only apply if the king had been committed to stand trial but he has not yet, meaning the high court that has jurisdiction to hear the bail application too.
 
 
"You are not a committal court, it's only the chief magistrate's court, which can commit an applicant with committal papers, which are nowhere to be seen," he said. After hearing from both parties Justice Eva Luswata adjourned court to Thursday morning when she will rule on whether to hear the bail application or forward it to the ICD.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).