GULU – The Principal Judge (PJ) has since the start of the week been involved in inspection and tour exercise of Gulu and Lira High Courts.
The exercise started with a tour of the Gulu High Court and the Chief Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Guided by the Ag. Assistant Registrar and Chief Magistrate Gulu, Dawa Matenga Francis, the Principal Judge visited registries of both the High Court and Chief Magistrate’s Court.
It was observed that all the shelves were properly filed. The Principal Judge urged the Chief Magistrate to regularly check the registers to ensure that they are updated.
“Our registers are our backbone and they don’t need need electricity to be updated,” he said.
He urged the registry staff to capture as much detail as possible so that the registers can be used as independent sources of information in a case.
The walls of the CM court are peeling off and the cracks on the building show that the buildings have seen better days. The floor is not any better as the loosely remaining cemented ground keeps chipping.
On visiting the holding cells, the Principal Judge was informed that although the cells have water-borne toilets, none of them is functional as all have broken down. The CM said although the relevant offices had been informed, no help has come forth. The lone toilets for the prison wardens is not any better either.
HW Dawa said the circuit needed a substantive magistrate for Amuru court and a CM for Pader. He added that two magistrates attached to the main station are sufficient.
At Oyam Court from Gulu, the PJ accompanied by the Public Relations Officer/Assistant Registrar Inspectorate, Jameson Karemani, headed to Oyam Chief Magistrate Court.
There, he was received by Magistrate Grade One, Paul Matyama who in his brief shared that the court has not had a secretary for nearly two years.
The court has decided to pile the files on top of the broken filing cabinets.
Dr Zeija commended the court for maintaining two registries, one for criminal and another for civil. The Principal Judge urged the registry staff to ensure that when keeping files, they are kept in a chronological manner to ease retrieval.
The PRO said it was important to leave a marker such as a Manila paper with information when a file is moved. This he said would help cure cases of missing files.
The PJ inspected the Court’s new VIP Latrine, holding cells and exhibit store. A number of interventions were proposed which the magistrate promised to follow up on.
Kole Magistrate’s Court
The Principal Judge concluded the day’s activities with a stopover at Kole court where he met the court’s lone support staff, Nixon Okello, a records assistant.
The Oyam magistrate also care-takes Kole court which has 95 pending civil matters and 57 criminal matters.
The court which has been in existence since the colonial era is housed at the sub-county and shared space with the police post. It occupies three rooms and the magistrate’s chambers double as the archives room.
The magistrate has to equally go through the small open court to access the chambers. The Principal Judge proceeded to the Kole District headquarters to inspect the new site of the court.
The Principal Judge will continue on his inspection of Lira High Court circuit tomorrow. The Principal Judge was accompanied by the Ag. Registrar High Court, Mary Ikit and Magistrate Grade One who doubles as his Personal Assistant, Julius Mwesigye.