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18.01.2019 – Bail application

SUMMARY OF HEARINGS

The proceedings of the Bail Application commenced in Chambers and not in open court, before the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Jane Kiggundu of the ICD of the High Court of Uganda. There was no substantial hearing however on the merits of the application from any of the parties before the court as both the defence counsel and victims counsel sought an adjournment.

The Defence argued that the sureties were not present in the Court premises at the ICD in Kampala, but at the High Court in Gulu where they believed the trial to be. As for the Victims Counsel, it was submitted that although funds were released for consulting the victims on their opinion about whether bail should be granted to the accused, Victims counsel had been unable to conduct the consultations as it was during the Christmas holiday and therefore mobilization was a challenge. They therefore argued that they needed a more suitable time to go back to consult the victims.

This hearing was unique in that the Accused was absent. By 11.00 a.m., he had not been presented at the Court premises by the Prisons authorities. He was later brought but only received a briefing on the proceedings from one of his defence lawyers on state brief.

Due to these considerations, the hearing was adjourned by the court to the 4th of February 2019 at the High Court Premises in Gulu. In between, the hearing was further postponed to 18th of February 2019 at 3.00 p.m. It will be heard alongside the substantial trial which will commence with opening statements on the same date at 9.00 a.m.

It is important to note that this is the third time the bail application is not taking off for reasons associated with the absence of sureties as well as victims’ counsels not having consulted the victims on this application. It is incumbent on the defence to ensure the presence in court of sureties, i.e. persons offering guarantees that the accused will attend court sessions and not abscond or violate any conditions set under bail, should his demand for the same be granted. The defence has so far failed to present such sureties. We wait to see how the Court will abide any further requests for adjournments that may arise, for whatever reason if at all.

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