Court Grants DPP Powers to Automatically Take Over all Criminal Prosecutions

The High Court in Kampala has ruled that it’s automatic for the Directorate of Public Prosecution to take over any criminal matter from private prosecutors as he/she is the only one constitutionally mandated to carry out such prosecutions in the country.

This precedent ruling means that the DPP now no longer has to apply to court to take over criminal proceedings for as long as he has notified the trial magistrate.

The clarification was made by Justice Joseph Murangira while ruling on the procedure supposed to be  followed  by DPP when taking over cases instituted privately.

In his ruling the Judge faulted the Makindye Court Chief Magistrate Richard Mafabi’s decision to reject DPP’s plea to automatically take over IGP Kale Kayihura’s prosecution and instead ordered him to file a formal application in court.

In the past DPP before taking over any prosecution in a case started by a private prosecutor;  had to first file a formal application in court about the matter but with this judgment he will only need to inform the trial magistrate verbally.

Kayihura and 7 other officers were dragged to Makindye magistrate court by a group of private prosecutors over torture charges of Ugandans.

The Judge noted that the Magistrate was wrong to divert the State from its intention to take over this matter, cure  yet the DPP has a right to appear in court and orally inform the presiding magistrate of his interest in that case.

Justice Murangira stressed that the DPP is not subject to any control or direction of anybody in exercise of his constitutional function and therefore he is not obliged to file a formal application in taking over a case, as Magistrate Mafabi had directed.
But Justice Murangira stressed that the DPP must take on the cases and prosecute them to finality and satisfactorily.



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