Controversial lawyer Male Mabirizi has been condemned to a shs300 million fine after losing a court case filed against him by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General last year dragged Mabirizi for contempt of court when he made comments on social media after losing a case in which he challenged Capital MAarkets Authority’s decision to approve MTN Uganda’s Initial Public Offering (IPO).
The Attorney General also told court that before the determination of the case, Mabirizi used his facebook account to argue the merits of the suit and suggesting that the trial judge should rule in his favour.
It was said in the application that the lawyer’s comments were calculated to bring the then presiding Judge into contempt and to lower his judicial authority.
In a ruling delivered today, Justice Musa Ssekaana reasoned with the Attorney General that Mabirizi had behaved in a manner which can only be described as contempt of court.
Ssekaana said the statements by Mabirizi tended to lower the authority of Justice Odoki and the High Court, by suggesting that a ruling was not valid or had no legal effect and that it should not be accorded any respect by the public.
“By attacking the authenticity of the ruling, the Respondent’s statements tended to undermine the confidence of the public in whether judicial decisions of Justice Odoki and the High Court or judiciary can be relied on as valid and genuine, which would tend to prejudice the public interest in the administration of justice,” Justice Ssekaana said.
“ These statements amounted to contempt in as far as they imputed wrong motives to the Judge’s judicial acts and decisions, and further that they tended to negatively affect the administration of justice by undermining the confidence of the public in the rulings of the said Judge and by extension the High Court.”
The judge said court cannot continue to be in a ‘mute mode’ as the authority of court is under attack and it ought to do something to stop such behavior.
“Such attacks on the judicial officers should be condemned in the strongest terms since they have become ‘endangered species’ by social media and usually cannot defend themselves against such attacks.”
The judge consequently directed that Mabirizi be condemned to a shs300 million fine.
“This application has succeeded and the court grants an order that the respondent(Mabirizi) pays a fine of shs300 million,”Ssekaana directed.
He also warned him against any further attacks towards judicial officers.