KAMPALA – The Judiciary has rejected President Yoweri Museveni’s renewed call to bend the existing procedures on bail and insisted that Courts shall continue to be guided by the Constitution and the law on matters relating to bail applications.
Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe, while responding to Mr Museveni’s June 14 remarks made during the National Budget Day that “bail for (suspected) killers is not acceptable” said Judiciary’s position on bail can only change when the law is amended.
“It is simple: the issue of bail is governed by the Constitution and the law. Until the law is amended, bail will be granted or denied in maccordance with the Constitution and the law,” the Chief Justice is quoted in a statement issued by the his Public Relations Officer Solomon Muyita.
Accoring to the statement issued Friday June 15, Justice Katureebe added that the courts presume all accused persons innocent until they are proven guilty in a trial – the very reason people have a right to apply for bail and the courts have the discretion to grant or deny the applications.
“The law provides adequate safeguards and the courts take into account a number of considerations, including the matters of publicsafety, before they grant bail,” the Judiciary said.
The right to apply for bail is provided for in the 1995 Constitution of Uganda (as amended); the Magistrates Court Act Cap 16 (MCA); and Trial on Indictment Act, Cap 23 (TIA). Article 23 (6)(a) of the Constitution provides for the right of an accused person to apply to court to be released on bail subject to the legal requirements and conditions, which must be fulfilled before court grants bail.
Article 23(6)(b) gives the accused person before a Magistrates Court the right to be released on bail, if the person has been on remand for sixty (60) days before trial.
Article 23(6)(c) gives a person charged with a capital offence the right to be released on bail if he or she has spent one hundred and eighty days (180)
on remand before their committal to the High Court for trial.
But the accused person must fulfil the legal requirements and conditions set by the court.