MBARARA – The Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija, has while sitting at Mbarara High Court, convicted Twesigye Godfrey to 35 years in prison for defiling his nine-year-old daughter.
Prosecution proved that Twesigye committed the offence in 2013.
The case was handled by the PJ when he was still a trial Judge at the Court and it was in advance stages.
In his ruling, the PJ took in account the seven years that the convict had spent on remand. He said the sentence was not only punitive but also retributional given the offence’s long term traumatic effects and stigma on the victim.
“This might even affect her marriage in case she gets in an argument with the husband he might use it against her saying no wonder you were even defiled by own father,” PJ lamented.
He equally passed on three completed civil matters for the Deputy Registrar to deliver judgments.
From the court sitting, the PJ was then taken on a guided tour of both the High Court and Chief Magistrates Court.
Judges; Tadeo Asiimwe, Joyce Kavuma, Chief Magistrate Samuel Twakyire, and Magistrates Grade One; Muhimbise Gordon, Ayebare Daphine, Mujuni Paul and Ainembabazi Doreen took part in the exercise.
Justice Asiimwe decried the understaffing at the court while HW Twakyire, who also care takes the High Court Registry, briefed the PJ on the other challenges affecting efficiency in the delivery of justice at the circuit.
Theses included lack of a remand home, lack of sufficient space for court halls, archives, offices, non-operational ICT equipment and the incomplete wall fence are among the challenges that were identified. The CM also said the CM Court has a total workload of 3,112 cases out of which 572 are backlog.
From Mbarara, the PJ proceeded to Ntungamo where he was received by Chief Magistrate Sarah Mponye Kolya and Magistrates Grade One; Namayanja Nazifah and Akera Derrick Otim. The two circuit Ruhama and Rwashamaire courts respectively.
In both Rushama and Rwashamaire, the PJ found a team of security officers and town council leaders waiting for him. The local leaders pledged to provide court hall space for the magistrates to start visiting and holding courts near to the people.
It was reported that majority of backlogged cases in criminal matters was caused by either non committals or lack of state attorneys to prosecute cases in the two areas.
He promised to engage the Director of Public Prosecutions to come up with solutions to the impasse.
“We shouldn’t have criminal cases as backlog. Liaise with the State Attorneys to deal with pending committals or weed them out,” he said.
He added that he is soon concluding his inspections in Jinja, Arua, Mbale and Masindi High Court circuits. He said after this exercise, he will then embark on the planning phase, putting into consideration the observations from the inspections.
He, however, urged the Judicial Officers to continue engaging stakeholders on locally solvable problems such as availing land for construction of courts.