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Court of Appeal Starts a Two-Day Criminal Session at Mbarara High Court
The Deputy Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Richard Buteera inspecting the Guard of Honor

The Court of Appeal held a two-day session at Mbarara High Court to hear 32criminal appeals, most of which are Murder convictions.

The session was being presided over by the Deputy Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Richard Buteera and Justices; Hon. Justice Christopher Gashirabake and Hon. Justice Oscar Kihika.

The cause list, signed by the Court's Deputy Registrar, HW Lillian Bucyana, show that there are 14 Murder, eight Defilement, seven Robbery, two Rape, cases and one Manslaughter appeal that the Justices will handle during the session.

Speaking at the stakeholders meeting, the Deputy Chief Justice pointed out that the session is held to bring justice closer to court users under the Mbarara High Court Circuit. This, he said, reduces the transportation and litigation costs for litigants who have to travel to Kampala to access the Court of Appeal.

Hon. Justice Buteera further stated the Court's commitment to clearing the case backlog in the Judiciary. He added that the session is a clear indicator of the Court's determination to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done.

He also encouraged the participants to take up Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) mechanisms, which he said are very helpful in reducing the case backlog. He further encouraged plea bargaining, especially in cases that are still fresh, as this is when appellants are more likely to agree to it.

The Head of Circuit for Mbarara High Court, Hon. Justice Joyce Kavuma, welcomed the session noting that it would help to clear the backlog of criminal appeals in the circuit.

She said Mbarara High Court Circuit has a workload of 2,013 criminal cases and a backlog of 1,245 cases.

Mr Joseph Kyomuhendo, a Chief State Attorney from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), pointed out some of the challenges justice actors have faced in handling criminal appeals which included the sudden changes in the cause lists, and delayed service of appellant records by defense lawyers, which he said can be disruptive.

The meeting was attended by various justice actors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Uganda Police Force, and advocates among others.

In attendance; Hon. Justice Tadeo Asiimwe, Private Legal Secretary to DCJ, HW Dr Alex Mushabe, Ag Deputy Registrar Mbarara, HW Nanteza Zulaika, Acting Chief Magistrates HW Kabombo Andrew (Mbarara), HW Gakyaro Allan (Personal Assistant to the DCJ) among others.

Posted 7th, September 2023
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