Courts are guided by the law, Katureebe tells Museveni

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has told President Museveni that there is no way courts will act against the provisions of the law in regard to granting bail to suspects.

In a statement issued on Friday, Katureebe emphasised that the courts shall continue to be guided by the Constitution and the law on matters relating to bail.

Katureebe’s response follow President Yoweri Museveni’s suggestions on June 14 that suspected killers should be granted bail.

Museveni was addressing Parliament during the 2018/19 National budget reading day when he said bail for (suspected) killers is not acceptable.

But Katureebe in response said that the judiciary’s position on bail can only change when the law is amended.

“It is simple, the issue of bail is governed by the constitution and the law. Until the law is amended, bail will be granted or denied in accordance with the constitution and the law” Katureebe said.

He further said the court presumes all accused persons innocent until proved guilt in a trial thus they have a right to apply for bail and the courts have the discretion to grant or deny the applications.

“The law provides adequate safe guards and the courts take in to account a number of considerations, including the matter of public safety, before they grant bail,” the Chief Justice said.

The right to apply for bail is provided for in 1995 Constitution of Uganda (as amended); the Magistrates Court Act Cap 16 (MCA); and Trial on Indictment Act, Cap 23 (TIA).

Article 23 (6)(a) of the Constitution provides for the right of an accused person to apply to court to be released on bail subject to the legal requirements and conditions, which must be fulfilled before court grants bail.

Additionally, Article 23(6)(b) gives the accused person before a Magistrates Court the right to be released on bail, if the person has been on remand for
60 days before trial.

Article 23(6)(c) gives a person charged with a capital offence the right to be released on bail if he or she has spent 180 days 180 on remand before their committal to the High Court for trial provided the accused person fulfils all legal requirements and conditions set by court.