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No evidence! Court dismisses assault case against Registrar

R-L: Mr Arnold Mukose in charge of Human rights at UJA, Hannington Kisakye of Smart 24 TV and Eric Yiga of Salt Media at the court. (PHOTO/Rachel Agaba)

KAMPALA – Justice Andrew Bashaija of the High Court has on August 22, dismissed the assault case against its registrar Mr Fred Waninda.

The two journalists Hannington Kisakye and Eric Yiga attached to Salt Media and Smart 24 separately sued the registrar alongside Uganda Journalists Association (UJA), a professional body that brings journalists together and fights for their professional rights had sued over alleged assault.

They had sought for UGX100million as compensation for the physical and psychological torture, stress, inhumane treatment and violation of their rights and an additional UGX 50million paid to them in aggravated damages and a replacement of the Nikon D3100 camera that Mr Waninda allegedly destroyed.

However, the judge has dismissed their case with costs saying that there was no evidence adduced in court to back up the claims by journalists.

“The journalists mentioned of having retrieved a video recording of the alleged incident, however did not attach the said footage to prove that it happened or show how it happened and did not even provide any other independent cogent evidence to back up their allegation of damages of the camera as asserted in their affidavits nor photographs showing that it was destroyed,” Justice Bashaija ruled.

The judge also noted that the journalist’s cause of action against the registrar are in respect to the alleged tort of assault and damage to their camera, however, the remedies sought for claims in tort are ordinarily only obtained in actions brought under private law as opposed to the public law under which the instant application falls.

The judge advised that the journalists should have brought their action by way of an ordinary suit its tort and adduced evidence to prove their claim as the matter now stands it is not possible for court to consider the remedies sought.

“A tort of assault and damage to property can be enforced within the province of private law. That renders this application as disclosing no cause of action as against Mr Waninda under public law under which it is brought,” Justice Bashaija ruled.

Justice Bashaija explained that a right is a creature of statute and for such a right to be deemed to have been violated, it must have accrued to the journalists and must be properly rooted in a relevant category of law that encompasses the party claiming the violation as against the one alleged to have violated the right.

However, the judge also warned parties and lawyers to desist from the trending habit of just throwing all sorts of cases in the court for the sake of it or for parties to gain sheer publicity because they do not have an ounce of evidence to bolster them.

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