Court dismisses case against British producer
Posted Thursday, January 3 2013 at 02:00
British film producer David Cecil Edward Hugh was yesterday discharged after a local court dismissed a disobedience case for secretly staging a play supporting gay rights despite a ban by the Media Council on the play script.
The case was dismissed by Chief Magistrate Esther Nambayo after the State on numerous occasions failed to produce a single witness to testify against the producer.
According to the State, the police file for ‘The River and The Mountain’ writer had never been produced in court as it was still with the police.
While dismissing the case, the magistrate advised the State to reinstate the charges if they wished so.
Further, the court also ordered that Mr Cecil’s Shs500,000 bail money and passport be returned. Mr Cecil’s play examined the plight of a man who comes out as a homosexual but the Ugandan government persecutes him for his sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and is punishable under section 145 of the Penal Code Act as a crime against morality. Mr Francis Onyango, Mr Cecil’s lawyer, said the case against his client lacked merit from the start.
Court records showed that Mr Cecil’s woes with the Media Council begun on August 13 last year when he forwarded a soft copy of the script to the Council for appraisal and review.
The controversial play was due to be staged at the National Theater in Kampala by the ‘Tilapia Cultural Centre’ group. In his e-mail to the Council, Mr Cecil is reported to have stated that the play was simply about power, politics, friendship, betrayal, religion, sexuality and the media and that the organisers believed that it would not anger the public.
Court records further show that three days later, the Council wrote back to the organisers informing them that it had received their script and that it was due to be considered.
However, the Council warned the organisers that in the meantime, they should not show the play to the public. The Council states that it was, however, shocked to learn that the organisers had secretly staged the play in various public places.
After Media Council sampled some of the excerpts of the script, it found that the play was obnoxious.