High Court Judge Jesse Byaruhanga denies knocking dead traffic police officer, cites ‘foul play’ in Police handling of case
ustice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema, the Mbale High Court resident Judge who was early this week accused by the Uganda Police of, on Sunday, knocking dead traffic police officer Ayesigye Innocent in Namanve along Kampala-Jinja highway has refuted the claims and accused the Force of ” foul play” in its handling of the accident.
In a brief to Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, seen by The Legal Reports, Justice Jesse Byaruhanga says the Police have falsely accused him in an attempt to ‘take advantage of my position’ and ‘malign’ the Judiciary by embarrasing him.
On tuesday, the Uganda Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango posted to his twitter a photo of a Toyota Rav 4 (which the Judge admits in the brief he was driving) with a caption: ” Our traffic officer no. 59242 PC Ayesigye Innocent who was knocked by motor vehicle registration number UAS 597U Rav 4 has passed on at Rubaga hospital this morning. We are still looking for the driver of [ the car]…”
Subsequently, the Police arrested the Judge’s driver and body guard apparently to ‘help with investigations,’ The Independent reported.
Contrary to the Police account, the Judge says he drove about 100 metres behind the traffic officer who rode a motor bike and was instead knocked by an incoming speeding Ford car ( number UBD 896E) which did not stop.
Our Traffic Officer NO. 59242 PC AYESIGYE INNOCENT who was knocked by motor vehicle registration number UAS 597U RAV4 has passed on at Rubaga Hospital this morning. We are still looking for the Driver of car number UAS 597U.. pic.twitter.com/yyPYb1ubdj
— Patrick Onyango (@Patrickonyango1) May 26, 2020
” I was behind the traffic officer at a distance of about 100 metres and therefore in position to clearly see the incident. The traffic officer appeared to had tried to dodge a rough part of the road on his side and collided with a high speeding vehicle that had also left its part of the lane for reasons unknown to me ” He writes in the brief.
” Upon collision, I saw a dust of glasses and fragments filling the atmosphere and the motor cycle flew to my vehicle on the driver’s side and scratched the vehicle as it rolled passed me. I immediately stopped to assess the condition of the traffic police officer.
” The traffic officer had been thrown into a ditch on the left hand side of the road. My body guard tried to pull the injured traffic officer from the trench but humanely failed ”
According to the Judge, the Uganda Police relied on pictures of his car which were taken by onlookers after he had stopped to help the traffic officer to pass liability onto him.
” The onlookers who had gathered around were photographing my car imagining that it is the one that knocked the traffic officer” He said.
On tuesday, the Judge’s brief reads, he was summoned by Police but he decided to send his body guard and driver to take his car to Police and for his body guard to record a statement whereupon they were arrested.
” To my surprise, upon reaching Police both were immediately detained. With this kind of development, I suspected foul play. It appeared to me that Police of all institutions, wanted to take advantage of my position and malign us by embarrassing me ” He says.
” What offence have these 2 people committed?”
The Judge now wants Police to release a CCTV footage of what transpired and a forensic examination of his car and the Ford car – which has ever since been impounded and is held at Bweyogerere Police. He also wants his driver and body guard released.