Over 1,300 prisoners await appeal hearing

More than 1300 prisoners serving time for capital offences in Jinja’s Kirinya Main Prison are yet to be considered by the Court of Appeal despite filing for appeal a while ago, the Jinja District Prisons Commander Ben Kuboi has revealed.

Kuboi made the revelation following the opening of a criminal session of the Court of Appeal in Jinja, which was presided over by the deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera.

Buteera, who was in the company of three other Justices of Court of Appeal including Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Monica Mugenyi and Muzamir Kibedi, first held a stakeholder meeting attended by judicial officers, Jinja city leadership, security chiefs and lawyers, among others.

Kuboi, noted with concern the ‘discriminatory’ selection of appeals that handled by the Court of Appeal.

“Many prisoners serving capital punishment in Kirinya Prison are disgruntled because their appeals have never been heard, with some having been filed as far back as 1998,” Kuboi said.

The Senior Resident Judge at the Jinja High Court, Winfred Nabisinde also noted that delivery of justice is further being frustrated by the lack of funds for timely execution of cases.

"We can’t carry out criminal court sessions since we don’t have funds for that, which affects inmates especially those who are not interested in the plea bargain system," Nabisinde said.

Area leaders faulted judicial officers for the manner in which they handle land matters. Jinja City Mayor, Peter Kasolo and Resident District Commission, Richard Gulume, for instance, accused judicial officers in Jinja of conniving with unscrupulous people to issue court orders on public land.

"A court order was issued stopping Jinja City Council from using the landfill. I think this is erroneous since Council shall have nowhere to dump garbage", Kasolo said.

“Sometimes judicial officers issue court orders without visiting a locus hence being very detached from what is on ground”, Gulume said.

However, the Jinja Resident Judge, in response, slammed City officials for failing to report to court whenever they receive summons, which forces court to hear cases relating to public land ex parte.

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