Judge defers trial of suspected German paedophile over lack of interpreter

Wednesday September 11 2019

Mr Bernhard Bery Glaser before Masaka High

Mr Bernhard Bery Glaser before Masaka High court on September 9, 2019. PHOTO BY MALIK FAHAD JJINGO 

By MALIK FAHAD JJINGO

Masaka High Court Resident Judge Dr Winfred Nabinsinde has deferred the trial of Mr Bernhard Bery Glaser, a Kalangala-based German national accused of being a paedophile, due to absence of an interpreter.

Mr Glaser on Tuesday amused court when he said he was not conversant with English and preferred to use Flemish, a dialect spoken in Belgium.

“I grew up in Belgium and I feel comfortable to use Flemish language during my trial. So, I ask court to get me an interpreter before I can take plea,” Mr Glaser told court on Tuesday.

Mr Glaser, the director Ssese Humanitarian Service, an NGO located at Mwena landing site in Kalangala District is facing eight charges of aggravated defilement and 19 counts of aggravated child trafficking.

Justice Nabisinde adjourned the matter to September 23 when court is expected to get a Flemish language interpreter from Makerere School of Languages so that the case can proceed with plea taking.

She, however, rejected an application made by the defense team led by Mr Caleb Alaka seeking leave to appeal the decision by court to proceed with trial of Glaser, accusing the judge of taking sides in the matter.

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Justice Nabisinde said the defense has failed to satisfy court with any valid issues that would require the intervention of Court of Appeal at this stage, adding that the leave to appeal is not granted, ruling that the accused person will have to take plea and the case proceeds.

“I have not found any proof in defense submission that this court has taken sides in this case bearing in mind that the trial has not yet taken off, we are still at preliminary stages where plea taking has not been done,” she said.

On Monday, tempers flared in court as Justice Nabisinde ruled that Mr Glaser is medically fit to stand trial.

This came after the judge received medical reports from different doctors indicating that the accused person was not seriously ill as claimed by his lawyers.

However, Mr Alaka said though the medical reports indicate that Glaser was not ill at the moment, his cancer condition which has caused him a swelling on his right cheek is recurring and requires immediate medical attention preferably from his personal doctor.

Glaser was first arrested in December 2013 on suspicion of sexually abusing 19 minors under his care in Kalangala, central Uganda.

He was later acquitted by court after the state failed to get incriminating evidence against him.

In February this year, police detectives raided Glaser’s home in Kalangala and rescued at least 11 children living under his care. Police did not find Glaser at his home at the time. He was arrested later when he presented himself to police.

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