High Court Judge: Ministers Must not Meddle in Court Cases

Judge of the High Court, medicine His Lordship Justice David Batema has challenged the judiciary to review the way in which cases of domestic violence are handled including constraining the Minister of Justice from interfering in court cases.

He argues that numerous domestic violence cases have been delayed pending approval of ‘politicians’ which violates both the constitution and denies individuals justice.

“Persons with mental illness are legally entitled to an impartial and expeditious resolution of their cases and appropriate psychological assistance. Dumping them in prison for years without resolution of their cases is cruel, information pills inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to article 24 of our Constitution, link ” said Justice Batema during a recent dialogue on gender based violence held at Hotel Africana.

He cited a case involving Uganda Vs Eric Bushoborozi in which he (Bushoborozi) was convicted by Justice Rugadya Atwoki in 2002 for killing his child and cutting off his head.

Court would later discover that the accused was insane and therefore returned a special finding of Not guilty by virtue of section 48 (1) of the Trial on Indictment Act (T.I.A).

Bushoborozi was then remanded to prison in December 2006 pending the Minister’s orders as to where he should be taken for mental treatment or otherwise be dealt with.

For over three years, the Minister of Justice didn’t approve the discharge of Bushoborozi.

“It is unjustified for the Minister to fail to issue a discharge order for a prisoner who was acquitted of charges of murder by reason of his or her insanity and more so where, after treatment, he is declared to be no longer insane,” added a rather disgruntled Justice Batema.


In his view, the High Court possesses inherent powers to prevent the abuse of court processes by curtailing such delays. He said the provisions of the law that gave the Minister such powers can safely and constitutionally be construed to be the powers of court under articles 126 and 274 of the Constitution.

“Any court waiting for the Minister’s orders is giving away the independence of the Judiciary and is in one way or another accepting to be ordered around by the Minister who, as experience has shown, is too busy to issue the orders.”

On the other hand, the Justice also faulted his fellow adjudicators for lacking the will to investigate and prosecute incidents where women and children are battered inhumanely.

He observed that the majority of the judges and magistrates are ignorant about sexual and gender based violence which results into inconsistency in standards when trying perpetrators.

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