KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: Justice Isaac Muwata has set July 5th, 2022 to hear the bail application of jailed city lawyer, Male Mabirizi. He set the date when Mabirizi appeared before the High Court Criminal Division on Tuesday and applied for mandatory bail on grounds that he has spent over 60 days in custody without trial.
“That I have been in prison since February 21st, 2022 and no trial has taken place either before or after that date. That I know that upon spending 60 days in prison, I am entitled to mandatory bail,” reads Mabirizi’s application in part.
The Judge who first looked surprised wondered how that bail application had ended up before him yet he has two other applications by Mabirizi. In the applications, Mabirizi wants the court to direct prison authorities to offer him internet, typing, and printing services. He also wants the High court to direct prisons to transfer him from Luzira Upper prisons to Kitalya prison.
The Judge asked the parties to find him in chambers. However, Mabirizi declined the decision to hear his matter in chambers, saying that he had relatives who were in court and ready to stand for him surety. Nevertheless, the parties later went to the Chambers where the Judge set July 5th, 2022 to hear the application.
The State Attorney Timothy Amerit asked Mabirizi to furnish him with more documents related to his bail application such that he can understand from which charges it’s arising such that he can ably defend it.
In criminal matters, most of the bail applications are heard and granted by the court that is trying the accused person. In most cases where the person is already convicted like Mabirizi, such bail applications are always heard by the Appellate Court where a convict can seek temporary release pending the disposal of his appeal challenging their conviction and subsequent sentence.
In this case, there is nothing pending determination before Criminal Division since Mabirizi is already a convict. The High Court Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana convicted and sentenced Mabirizi on February 15th, 2022 to 18 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court. It came after Justice Ssekaana for the second time found Mabirizi guilty for his continued use of his social media platforms to attack judicial officers (Ssekaana) inclusive.
He was subsequently arrested from Kyambogo University gate on February 21st, 2022, and taken to Kitalya prison where he was later transferred from to Luzira Maximum Security Upper prison to serve the sentence.
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