The Centre for Constitutional Governance Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Bireete has condemned the double punishment given to a widow by the court.
The plight of this woman has been made popular by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja’s intervention who stormed Mwanga II Court and rescued the woman who had been jailed over a Shs2.8 million debt.
Nabbanja went ahead and paid the money, rescuing Gertrude Nalule, who was on the verge of losing her plot of land and house at only Shs10 million in the process. Nabbanja has accused the court of not properly handling the case.
But in response, the magistrate explained that it is difficult for the court to know about the case if the parties do not attend sessions when called to defend themselves.
Speaking to KFM, Dr. Bireete points at a poor criminal justice system where cases die at the investigation level or due to corruption.
Bireete however says the widow got a harsh and unfair sentence to the widow because much as she had failed to clear her debt, under civil law, a debtor is committed to prison for six months and upon release, such a person is supposed to either pay at their convenience because they would have served the sentence.
“The judgment in this case, the magistrate ordered for imprisonment of the women, also ordered for forfeiture of her house which was used as security, that was a double punishment,” Bireete said.
Yesterday, the chief justice, Alphonse Owiny Dollo vowed to defend and protect judicial officers both in public and private for whatever they rightly do in the dispensation of justice.
Dollo also tasked the Mwanga II Court Magistrate to explain the circumstances that prompted Prime Minister to storm court and rescue the woman.