Retired ASP Steven Mugarura, a retired police officer is all smiles after court in Kampala ordered government to compensate him with Shs10m for violation of his rights.
While serving as the OC CID for Kabarole Police Station, Mugarura encountered a notorious criminal gang but as he investigated it, superiors stopped him and was consequently arrested and detained.
Several charges were pressed against Mugarura as he was detained in several places prompting him to run to drag government to court for physical and mental torture, malicious prosecution and refusal to be deployed.
However, in his judgment, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala said that whereas Mugarura had failed to prove the allegations of torture meted out to him during the arrests by police, he right to personal liberty had been violated.
“The applicant has succeeded on one issue of violation of his right to personal liberty. The respondents did not challenge any of the arrests stated by the Applicant in the various police stations for the stated days in each cell. I would award the applicant 10,000,000/= as damages for the violation of his personal liberty with interest of 15% from the date of this ruling,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
In his suit, Mugarura said he had been tortured on several occasions when he was arrested by the Police Flying Squad Unit then headed by Herman Owomugisha.
However, the court ruled that torture allegations require proof in form of X-ray and other photographs showing the extent of the torture but to also throw away any doubt that the judge might have.
He however noted this was not presented to court and noted that consequently, the allegations can’t stand.
“With the discharge form from Life link Medical Centre, the diagnosis showed that the applicant had blunt chest trauma and fractured tooth, however, the clinical findings were that he had headache, scalp pain, neck pain, chest pain and painful tooth whereby he was given paracetamol and diclogel for management and advised to visit the dentist for future removal, which evidence was never adduced to court,” Ssekaana said.
“ The applicant’s lawyer must do more than making statements which may be weighed against the prevailing circumstances of the entire case. The applicant has not proved the alleged torture, inhuman and degrading treatment on the balance of probabilities.”