Lawyer Male Mabirizi has written to the Principal Judge to complain over the growing trend by magistrates courts to remand suspects without hearing their bail applications by giving flimsy excuses.
In a September, 18 , 2023 petition, Mabirizi says on several occasions, magistrates courts have remanded suspects without giving them a chance to have their bail application heard yet it is against the provisions of the law.
“It is plain that any magistrate where a person appears must entertain a bail application and only remand upon denial of bail. However, several Chief Magistrates and magistrates have adopted an unlawful procedure of denying accused persons a right to apply for bail, remanding them claiming that they are busy, tired, angry or that they are not the officers to which files have been allocated thereby turning courts into mere conduits to persons to highly congested prisons now standing at over 400% excess capacity,” Mabirizi says in his petition.
Mabirizi cites Section 77 of Magistrates Courts Act which states that where any person
appears before a magistrate's court charged with an offence for which bail may be granted, the court shall inform the person of his or her right to apply for bail.
The same provision also says that when an application for bail is made, the court shall have regard to a number of matters in deciding whether bail should be granted or refused and where bail is not granted under section 75, the court shall record the reasons why bail was not granted and inform the applicant of his or her right to apply for bail to the High Court or to a chief magistrate, as the circumstances may require.
The lawyer however says this has all been disregarded by magistrates courts which remand suspects without entertaining their bail applications.
Mabirizi cited an example of a case while he was at Luzira prison when Nakawa Chief Magistrate, Ritah Neumbe Kidasa remanded Joseph Kabuleta without hearing his bail application claiming she was tired.
“September, 15, 2023, I was in Buganda Road Court when Chief Magistrate Ronald Kayizzi after delivering a ruling in my application remanded two men and a woman all of advanced age, in a land wrangle case, reasoning that he was tired, very hungry and that he was not a machine.”
Mabirizi says in performance of his citizenry duties to promote the rule of law and combat abuse of public powers, he seeks the intervention of the Principal Judge to help save members of the public who are affected by the practice.
“I am writing so that you prevail over this countrywide abuse of judicial powers and process,” Mabirizi says in his petition to the Principal Judge.