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Court acquits Activist Karamagi of public nuisance

Lawyer and human rights activist, Andrew Karamagi (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA– Buganda Road Chief Magistrate court has acquitted a Kampala Lawyer and renowned activist Andrew Karamagi of a charge of being a Common nuisance for lack of sufficient evidence by the state.

Karamagi was arrested after interrupting a keynote address by then-Attorney General Peter Nyombi during the celebrations to initiate lawyers into the New Law Year on January 31, 2014, at the high court in Kampala.

However, the complaint Nyombi passed on last week.

While delivering her judgment this evening, Grade one Magistrate Joan Aciro has said that the state did not produce sufficient evidence to show that the actions by Karamagi were annoying.

“When you look at the charge sheet, the charge against Karamagi was inconsistent and not clearly written to secure a conviction,” Ms Aciro ruled.

Adding..”While Nyombi and other witnesses said that there was laughter and murmurs from the public when Karamagi grabbed his speech, the prosecution never explained to court the facts that caused the murmurs and laughter”.

The magistrate noted that none of the members of the people who attended the gathering was produced in Court to testify that the actions of Karamagi were annoying and inconveniencing.

She then acquitted Karamagi on grounds that she had looked at the evidence on record and found that he did not resist arrest when he was picked up from High Court by police thus he executed a peaceful demonstration against the Attorney General.

The magistrate also faulted the Attorney General of being partisan after he is quoted in his statement saying that “We are too young and we needed to appreciate what the National Resistance Movement revolution has put in place”, as he defended himself.

According to the Magistrate, this was being partisan as the Attorney General who is supposed to be neutral.

Karamagi is an employee of Human Rights and Peace Centre at Makerere University, Karamagi bypassed the attentive group of advocates, approached the pedestal, grabbed Nyombi’s Speech and tore it apart. He reportedly said Nyombi was not fit to speak before the ‘learned friends’.

Karamagi was charged with being a common nuisance, a charge which attracts a 1-year prison sentence.

The Uganda Penal code states that ‘any person who does an act not authorized by law or omits to discharge a legal duty and thereby causes any common injury, or danger or annoyance, or obstructs or causes inconvenience to the public in the exercise of common rights, commits the misdemeanor termed a common nuisance and is liable to imprisonment for one year.’

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