The Court of Appeal in Kampala has declined to grant a temporary injunction for the release of lawyer Male Mabirizi from prison where he was committed after arrest by police to serve an 18 months imprisonment over contempt of court.
On February 15, High Court’s Justice Musa Ssekaana directed that Mabirizi be sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after being found guilty of continued contempt of court for disparaging judicial oficiers via his social media accounts.
The judge directly police to arrest Mabirizi on sight to ensure he serves the punishment and was consequently arrested earlier this week and taken to Kitalya.
However, through his lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, Mabirizi asked court to stay execution of the 18 months imprisonment pending disposal of his appeal challenging the same and the shs300 million fine imposed on him by the High Court .
On Friday, Justice Christopher Madrama ruled that Mabirizi’s plea to stay execution of the 18 months imprisonment cannot succeed because he has not applied for the same.
On this, the judge reasoned with the State Attorney Patricia Mutesi who earlier this week told court that Mabirizi had only appealed against the shs300 million fine and not the 18months imprisonment.
She told court that the 18 months imprisonment only came in as additional affidavit for the shs300 million fine appeal.
On Friday, Justice Madrama reasoned with the State Attorney to say that Mabirizi didn’t appeal against the 18 months imprisonment.
Overtaken by events
Justice Madrama also ruled that he has no jurisdiction to reverse the order by the High Court in regards the 18months imprisonment that he said has been overtaken by events.
He said that since the application for stay of execution was meant to halt Mabirizi’s arrest and imprisonment, nothing can be changed now since he has already been arrested and taken to prison, which meant the application has been overtaken by events.
Shs300m fine order stayed
The judge however issued a temporary injunction staying the execution of payment of the shs300 million fine that had been imposed on Mabirizi by the High Court on January 27, 2022 for contempt of court.
Efforts by Mabirizi to ask the judge for a review proved futile after Justice Christopher Madrama said he is not allowed to do it but urged the lawyer to file a formal application for the court to consider it or apply for bail.