Judge suspends court session after cells fail to open

Thursday August 15 2019


By Tobbias Jolly Owiny

The High Court session at Gulu High Court was suspended on Thursday when padlocks of holding cells where suspects were, failed to unlock.

Justice Steven Mubiru, the High Court judge arrived to preside over the session at 9am when padlocks to the two cells at the court jammed.

This prompted the judge to postpone the session to August 29 and exited the Chambers.

Several attempts by prison wardens to open the padlocks failed.

"We had to run back to the station (Gulu central Prison) to collect a hacksaw to cut and dismantle the padlocks," said a prison warden who declined to be named. According to him, there were over 65 suspects in the cells.

Among the suspects, was 32-year-old Silvia Kyomuhangi who was in April sentenced to two years in jail for injecting a six-month old baby with HIV infected blood in Kitgum town.


Her appeal case was scheduled for today.

Mr Joseph Akejo, a court official at the court confirmed that the court had no option but to adjourn all the cases to August 29.

"There were over 100 cases, both appeals and criminal judgments whose rulings were to be delivered today but did not happen due to the jammed locks," he said.

By the time the prison wardens cut the padlocks, the judge had left.

Mr Frank Baine, the Uganda Prisons spokesman told Daily Monitor that the jammed padlocks could not have caused the suspension of the session.

"It is really unfortunate that the judge left so quickly. I don't think it takes more than 30 minutes to cut a jammed padlock and the session would continue after," Mr Baine said.

He referred this reporter to the judiciary to seek explanations as to why the judge had to abandon a sitting.

 "Let them explain; maybe he had other interests," he said.

Efforts to contact the judiciary communications officer, Mr Solomon Muyita, were futile since his known telephone numbers were unavailable.