KAMPALA. The Supreme Court has ruled that the inclusion of magistrates in the Anti-Corruption Court is constitutional and does not distort composition of the court as had been alleged by the petitioners.
In a 6-1 majority judgment, Justice Faith Mwondha, who wrote the lead judgment, held that the affidavit evidence adduced by the appellate (lawyer Davis Wesley Tusingwire) did not show that the magistrates attached to the Anti-Corruption Court were having concurrent powers to perform their work and the work of judges.
Other judges are Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and Justices Jotham Tumwesigye, Augustine Nshimye, Eldad Mwangusya and Rubby Opio Aweri.
In his appeal, Mr Tusingwire had sought orders and declarations that the exercise of the judicial duties in the Anti-Corruption Court by magistrates was unconstitutional and distorts composition of the High Court. The Anti-Corruption Court is under the High Court.
Mr Tusingwire had contended that including magistrates to the Anti-Corruption Court by the Chief Justice when he issued Practice Directions 2009 to give them authority to hear corruption cases alongside the judges, was unconstitutional.
He had wanted the Supreme Court to declare judgments delivered and trials presided over by the magistrates regarding corruption charges null and void.
“The affidavit evidence adduced by the appellant (Mr Tusingwire) obviously fell short of revealing that the designated magistrates were having concurrent jurisdiction with judges of the division,” ruled Justice Mwondha in her lead judgment
“There was no evidence of breach of the provisions of the Constitution as alleged by the appellant. There was no derogation of the right to a fair hearing and in the result since all the grounds have no merit, the appeal fails and it’s dismissed forthwith,” Justice Mwondha further ruled.