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Jailed Makerere researcher Nyanzi loses bid to block today’s judgement

Dr Stella Nyanzi in the court dock on cyber crime case. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The jailed Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi has lost a bid to block her judgement in a case in which she is facing charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication against the person of the President slated for today, August 1.

Dr Nyanzi had filed an application in the High Court seeking orders to have the trial magistrate at Buganda Road Court Ms Gladys Kamasanyu off her case for allegedly being biased and instead have a new trial magistrate appointed to hear her case afresh.

However, Justice Jane Frances Abodo has dismissed her application and ordered that the case file be sent back to Buganda Road to proceed with it’s judgement.

In her ruling on July 31, the Judge said she is unable to find bias on the side of the trial magistrate in the way she handled Nyanzi’s case which would warrant a revision of the lower court proceedings.

The Judge also found no miscarriage of justice ocassioned on Dr Nyanzi since the  Magistrate gave her and her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde to prepare for his defence case and ensure attendance of his 20 witnesses.

Justice  Abodo has observed that Nyanzi was accorded 7 adjournments to prepare her defence witnesses but out of 20, she only produced one witness who was also not ready to testify.

In her application, Nyanzi had also accused the magistrate of failing to effectively serve summons to her 20 defence witnesses as required by law and instead rested the burden to her and her advocate.

She opted to keep quiet in her defence leaving witnesses to defend her. Among her witnesses included the President as a key witness, however, court declined to summon him, experts in investigating cyber cases led by CID boss Grace Akullo, linguistic and cultural experts and senior citizens.

Dr Nyanzi had also blamed the magistrate for forcing her to close her defence case by casting, dictating the manner and order in which she must present her witnesses.

However, in his response to Nyanzi’s application, the state-led by Mr Timothy Emilit told court that the researcher should blame her lawyer who kept on raising objections each time the case came up for hearing.

“Your honor the applicant’s (Nyanzi) lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde neglected his duty as a court official who is mandated in a similar way to ensure service of summons on witnesses. He kept on raising interim applications to interrupt proceedings,” Mr Emiliti said.

Mr Emiliti had also submitted that no rational person can say that the trial magistrate at Buganda Road was biased given the many opportunities accorded to Naynzi and her lawyer to present her witnesses who seemed uncoordinated and un briefed during trial.

The prosecutor then asked the judge to dismiss the application for review and remit the case file back to Buganda Road court for delivery of judgement being the essential interest for all the parties.

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