The Court of Appeal session expected to handle 40 criminal case-based appeals has kicked off in Fort Portal with aggravated defilement and murder cases topping the list.
According to the cause list issued by the Court of Appeal Deputy Registrar, Thadius Ayebare Tumwebaze, the session will be presided over by Justices; Kenneth Kakuru, Christopher Madrama and Irene Mulyagonja who will hear a total of 40 appeals before returning to the headquarters to write judgments.
The cause list consists of 20 appeals against the conviction on charges of aggravated defilement while 15 appellants want the Court to quash murder convictions. Other appeals to be handled include four on aggravated robbery and one on rape where the convicts want the Court to set aside their sentences.
The oldest appeal is a matter filed in 2008 where three appellants want Court to overturn their life sentence over a murder offence.
The Court’s Deputy Registrar said the session will be held in conformity to the existing Standard Operating Procedures outlined by the Judiciary and the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of COVID-19.
He noted that although the Justices and counsels will be physically present at the High Court in Fort Portal, the appellants will remain in prison but will participate via the Zoom video conferencing platform.
His Worship Ayebare said the Justices are more than ready to dispose off the 40 Appeals and to deliver their Judgments within 30 days after the hearing. He intimated that arrangements had already been made for the attorneys to prepare their clients on how to participate in the scientific court session.
This will be the third external session to be scientifically conducted by the Court of Appeal since resuming business after the Covid-19 lockdown in June. The first one was conducted in Mbarara, the second in Mbale and the third one will be in Fort Portal.
It is hoped that before the year closes, another external session for the northern region will be conducted in Lira. The Court hopes to close the year with a disposal of at least 1,500 matters, about 700 of which will be criminal case-based.
The Court Case Administration System shows that by close of October, the Court had completed 1,293 matters which included; 151 Constitutional matters, 627 Criminal matters, 13 Election Petition matters and 502 Civil Matters.