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Police Can’t Summon Magistrates – Judiciary Cautions Grace Akullo

The Judiciary has cautioned Uganda Police against directly summoning and questioning Judicial officers on court matters.

The Judiciary Ag. Chief Registrar, Mr Tom Chemutai, yesterday wrote to Police’s Director Criminal Investigations AIGP Grace Akullo, reminding her that Police have no such powers.

According to the Judiciary spokesperson Solomon Muyita, Mr Chemutai told the CID boss that it is irregular for the Police to summon a Magistrate over a court decision.

This follows an incident in which a magistrate in Hoima district was reportedly summoned by police over an alleged illegal eviction and malicious damage to property, arising from a Civil Suit in the Hoima Chief Magistrates’ Court.

The Police reportedly summoned the Magistrate in the matter to record a statement in relation to the investigations.

In his letter to Akullo, Chemutai stressed; “The Police cannot sermon Judicial Officers to explain how they handle court cases. The Police can only seek clarification from Court about a decision made in any matter.”

Article 128(1) of the Constitution of Uganda provides that “In exercise of judicial power the Courts shall be independent and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority”.

Clause (4) of the Article provides that “a person exercising Judicial power shall not be liable to any action or suit for any act or omission by that person in the exercise of judicial power”.

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Mr Chemutai says however, that Court users with complaints against the conduct of any Judicial Officer can petition the Inspectorate of Courts, the Chief Registrar, or Judicial Service Commission for proper investigations to be conducted and appropriate action taken.

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