Court of Appeal to hear 40 Criminal cases using Zoom

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Uganda’s Court of Appeal will beginning Tuesday 23rd hear a raft of 40 criminal appeal cases using Zoom technology, the Judiciary has announced Sunday.

The country’s first appellate court will for one month sit at the Mbarara High Court premises in the special session which will see 26 murder cases heard, according to the cause-list for the session, along 8 aggravated defilement cases as well as 3 aggravated robbery cases. The Court will also handle 3 rape cases.

According to the Judiciary, physical Court sessions will be limited to only Justices of the Court of Appeal who are: Justice Elizabeth Musoke, Justice Stephen Musota, Justice Remmy Kasule, and lawyers representing the different parties in the cases.

Justice Elizabeth Musoke

Justice Elizabeth Musoke/ Courtesy Photo

” The Justices and Counsel will physically be present at the High Court in Mbarara, but their clients will participate via the Zoom technology ” Court of Appeal’s Acting Registrar Mr Ayebare Tumwebaze said.


Also Read: Coronavirus: Judiciary rolls out guidelines for online hearings


Remote conduct of court hearings is a novel and loose concept in Uganda’s Justice system which traditionally favours physical court attendances of Judicial officers, litigants and members of the public.

However due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Judiciary has been forced to scale down on physical interactions and adopt online court hearings to ensure business continuity.

Justice Remmy Kasule

Justice Remmy Kasule/ Courtesy photo

The third arm of government says arrangements have already been put in place for lawyers to engage with their clients on how to remotely participate in the Court session and that the approach ” will enable the Justices to handle cases expeditiously and economically as well as observing the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 ”

” The advocates are required to advise and sensitise their respective appellants on the new measures to avert Covid-19 and on the rationale for the resolution that proceedings will be conducted remotely” Mr Tumwebaze said.

Regional special court sessions form part of the Judiciary’s strategy to reduce on court case backlog and the Court of Appeal has previously conducted similar sessions albeit in different circumstances in areas such as Jinja District.


 

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