Home National Court of Appeal Dismisses Segirinya, Ssewanyana’s Bail Application

Court of Appeal Dismisses Segirinya, Ssewanyana’s Bail Application

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A panel of three justices under the court of appeal dismisses bail application of jailed legislators Muhammad Ssegirinya of Kawempe North and Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye west on grounds that the appellate court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the two MPs’ petition challenging the high court judge’s decision in which he denied them bail.

The legislators who have been on remand for nearly a year following their arrest last year for allegedly being behind the spate of killings in Greater Masaka that left over 20 people dead, had petitioned the appellate court seeking to be released on bail as they continue battling murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism charges.

The legislators were first arrested on September 7, 2021 alongside seven others over the said killings. They were granted bail after spending two weeks on remand. However, the two legislators were violently re-arrested as they left prison on September 23 and 26 respectively before fresh murder charges were levelled against them.

They applied for bail but on October 25, 2021, Masaka High Court Judge Lawrence Tweyanze dismissed it on grounds that they are accused of a string of capital offenses that all attract a maximum of the death penalty.

The judge further added that the legislators could flee from justice and that given their position in society as lawmakers, they would interfere with the trial process and investigations.

Through their lawyers led by Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Erias Lukwago and Shamim Malende the legislators then petitioned the Court of Appeal with seven grounds.

The MPs told Court that bail is a constitutional right and that they had been kidnapped by unknown people only to be dumped in Kigo Prison.

According to their lawyers, if the High Court Judge had considered this and the fact that bail had been granted prior to the re-arrest, he should have ordered for their release such that they can gain temporary freedom.

But the State Attorneys led by Richard Birivumbuka and Joseph Kyomuhendo raised a preliminary point of law when the matter came up for hearing last week asking the court to deny them bail on grounds that an accused person can only appeal against acquittal or sentence once a decision has been given by the lower court.

The court heard that since Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana were still under trial and had neither been acquitted nor convicted they shouldn’t have petitioned the appellate court.

The Court of Appeal Justices agreed with the State Prosecutors reasoning that they do not have jurisdiction to give audience to the legislators in their Wedsday decision.

The their ruling, the Judges noted that they can only entertain the appeal and invoke their judicial powers on matters when there is a final order or decree by the High Court in form of either acquittal, dismissal of charges or conviction and sentencing.

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Jolliebest Kasajja is a Ugandan Photo Journalist, Influencer, Photo and Videographer, Nnews Editor and Critic for African Politics.