Lawyers representing Makerere university academician Dr. Stella Nyanzi have asked the High Court to reign in on the lower Chief Magistrate’s court to quash an application seeking to have Nyanzi’s mental status checked.
The State prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya early this month applied to Buganda road Chief Magistrate James Mawanda Eremye for the mental status report of Dr. Nyanzi.
“She has a psychiatric case and if not attended to, click it would lead to continued injury or reputation damage of her victims and the general public,”Muwaganya said.
The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate said he would rule on the application at a later date forcing lawyers to rush to a higher court.
On Wednesday, the lawyers led by Isaac Ssemakadde told Justice Elizabeth Kabanda that using the Mental and Treatment Act by the state prosecutors against their client was illegal because the act is not applicable.
“It was a classic abuse of court process that cannot be allowed,” argued Ssemakadde.
The lawyers said that only the Magistrate’s Court Act applies to inquiries of the mental state of accused persons and not the Mental and Treatment Act as cited by the state prosecutor during proceedings at Buganda road court.
“There was no legitimate purpose for proceedings under the Mental and Treatment Act except to damage Dr.Nyanzi’s reputation, “argued the lawyers.
The lawyers also said it was wrong for the Chief Magistrate not to entertain their bail application as had been requested.
Mawanda stopped hearing of the bail application by Nyanzi’s lawyers saying he had to first rule on the application that sought to have the accused’s mental status checked.
However according to lawyers, it was improper for the magistrate not to hear their bail application.
“The Magistrate had the duty to explain the right to bail to Dr. Nyanzi but failed to do so,” Ssemakadde argued.
“He was inconsistent with constitutional provisions regarding bail.”
The lawyers also noted that the Buganda road court Magistrate had no power to issue a detention order of more than 14 days for Dr. Nyanzi arguing that her right to a fair speedy hearing was infringed upon.
Magistrate Eremye Mawanda agreed to grant a 14 day detention order that had been requested for by the state prosecutor to have Nyanzi detained as her mental status is being monitored.
High Court judge Elizabeth Kabanda is set to decide on these issues later today.