The Jinja District police court has demoted Assistant Superintendent of Police Andrew Gidoi to the rank of Inspector for the “scandalous manner” in which he handled a woman suspect during the 2011 general elections.
The officer formerly in charge of Njeru Police Post committed the offence on February 27, 2011, when under his command, policemen bundled Annet Namuddu on a pick-up truck with her head down and clothes flying off.
The pictures of Ms Namuddu that appeared in several newspapers shocked the nation, raising an outcry that led to the trial of Mr Gidoi.
However, the court did not make ruling on the alternative charge of “discreditable or irregular conduct”, which had also been preferred against Gidoi.
Court chairman, Superintendent of Police Pufredit Lukooya, said the act of the officer discredited the police force and the pictures of the incident in the press had left a dented the Force’s image.
“The defaulter (Gidoi) is therefore punished to restore discipline in the Force more especially among the commanders otherwise the name of the police force will be stained if not checked. The pictures must have contributed a lot of damage to the confidence of the public in the Uganda police force and it may take time to rebuild the same,” Mr Lukooya said.
“Therefore this court recommends the reduction in the rank of the defaulter, ASP Gidoi Andrew to Inspector of Police,” he added as he gave the convict 14 days to appeal to the High Court if he was not satisfied with the ruling.
Mr Lukooya said prosecution led by Njeru CID officer DIP Henry Magoola had proved its case to “the required standard” and therefore “finds the defaulter guilty of the offence of scandalous manner.”
Mr Lukooya said the court had looked at the Police Act, Article 24 of the Uganda Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code Section 5, which prohibit “cruel, disgraceful, indecent and inhuman treatment.”
The demotion comes at a time when there is widespread condemnation of the police force for its brutality, especially against the political opposition and must be seen as an image boost for the force.