KAMPALA- The state has asked Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court to dismiss the unconditional release application filed by former Buyende District Police Commander, ASP Muhammad Kirumira on ground that it does not have jurisdiction to entertain it.
On February 2, Mr Kirumira through his lawyers filed an application before Buganda Road court seeking his unconditional release from police custody or wherever he was detained or remanded, on assertions that it is illegal and unconstitutional.
In a session presided over by magistrate Robert Mukanza on Wednesday, the state prosecutor, Mr Jonathan Muwaganya, raised a preliminary objection against Mr Kirumira’s application stating that they examined it and found that it is a disguised application seeking a judicial review yet the magistrate court has no mandate to hear it.
“We had the benefit to peruse the notice of motion and affidavits in support. My understanding is that it is a disguised application asking court to revise, review or alter or prevent proceedings in the Police Disciplinary Court against the applicant (Kirumira),” Mr Muwaganya submitted.
He argued that: “The fundamental question is whether this court possess the jurisdiction to determine whether the Police Disciplinary Tribunal has powers to detain the applicant? My answer is negative because the answering code must have jurisdiction to revise and review orders of the Police court.”
“Your honour, there are two courts that have the jurisdiction to handle this application; that is the High Court, which had the original jurisdiction and the Constitutional Court that establishes the powers of the Police Disciplinary Tribunal. The case would have been different if the applicant was an ordinary suspect in the police cells,” Mr Muwaganya explained before asking court to dismiss the application with costs.
In reply, defence lawyer Jude Mbabaali argued that the state is taking his client’s plight jokingly by importing statements that the application seeks a review.
“Your worship, the application is very clear in what it is seeking. It states that the applicant should be released unconditionally. Articles of the Constitution and the Police Act state that a police officer on arresting a suspect without a warrant shall proceed to produce him before a magistrate’s court. Failure, the suspect may proceed to apply for release unless that person is charged,” he submitted.
He said police forced their way into Mr Kirumira’s house before arresting him and when he was taken to the Police Disciplinary Tribunal, he was not charged with fresh offences.
Presiding magistrate, Mr Mukanza, adjourned the matter to February 15 for a ruling on whether the matter was competently filed.
According to this application, Mr Kirumira was arrested on February 1, 2018 at Bulenga village in Wakiso District at about 8am, soon after dressing up in his police uniform to appear before the Uganda Police Tribunal.