Increase the number of High Courts to handle capital cases

Wednesday October 06 2021
letterpix
By Guest Writer

Of late, many media platforms have been awash with the proposed ban on issuance of bail for capital offenders,   with many opposed to the idea. 

In his opinion the President believes that the idea of  granting bail to murder suspects is a provocation to the victims of the deceased. 

It is vital to note that the President’s connotation comes from the school of thought that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done especially on the side of the victims. 

However, antagonists against this view justifiably suggest that the whole idea of denying murder suspects bail can be misused especially where people may be framed for murders they didn’t commit. 

This justifies the principle of a fair hearing which includes audi alterm pattern i.e., hear the other side which is further entrenched in our Constitution as was deciphered in the case of Alpusauli Matovu vs. Uganda where it was held that under Article 28(3) (a) of the Constitution, the applicant is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved and that being the case, he should get bail until substantive trial is concluded.

Furthermore, courts consider various factors before granting bail for instance, age of the accused, the character of the accused, the gravity of the offense, whether  the person is a first-time offender, the possibilities of the person influencing the trial process.

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Others are  the possibilities in delays in the trial for instance the  prosecution could take a longer period of time to gather the necessary evidence to secure a conviction as a result of inefficiencies in the investigating bodies birthed by limited resources and inadequate expertise.

 In light of the foregoing, I believe the most important question  should be how we can balance the implications of denying suspects bail, giving them bail and the mental implications on the victims. 

Be that as it may, I believe it’s more erudite to focus our energies on increasing facilitation to the judiciary which can enable it to recruit more High Court judges.

Also, open up a High Court in every district just as it is with police stations as well as increasing the facilitation that goes to the investigating bodies and providing them with more sophisticated training in gathering evidence and interrogating suspects. 

This will in turn improve their efficiency and will enable the courts to determine these murder cases within the shortest period of time.  

 I would, therefore, like to conclude by asserting that the President’s bail concerns can best be implemented if the above mechanisms are put in place.

Lastly but not least, I would  to quote the 1769 legal doctrine that is said to have emanated from the Roman law and was later interpreted in the US Supreme Court that “the law holds that it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than 1 innocent person suffer” which meant that it is better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn an innocent person. Denying any person bail is equivalent to convicting him before trial.

Gukiina Patrick 

[email protected]

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