Lawyers representing embattled Kawempe North Member of Parliament (MP) Muhammad Ssegirinya, Makindye West’s Allan Ssewanyana and other accused persons are set to put up a spirited legal fight against the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) Justice Jane Abodo’s plans to hide the State witnesses in the main criminal trial before the Crimes War Division of the High Court.
On Thursday, Justice Abodo, through her Assistant Lino Anguzo, the lead prosecutor in the trial told the pre-trial presiding judge Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza that they have filed an ex-parte application to allow the state to protect the witnesses from the media and the public when they are testifying.
Lino told Court that the witnesses they want to protect are very instrumental in their case and they will play a strong part to help Court to deliver justice to the accused persons and the deceased.
However, speaking to theGrapevine, Geoffrey Turyamusima, one of the lawyers representing the accused persons insisted that they have agreed with their clients to challenge the witness protection application.
“No, we are going to challenge that application, they have disclosed to us the witnesses who are set to testify against our clients and we have been seeing some of these witnesses in the media.
“They are the family members of the deceased, friends and security personnel. Now, what do they want to protect?” Turyamusima wondered.
Court has not yet set the hearing date for the application and other applications including the human rights enforcement application and the bail applications of all the accused persons.
Other accused persons on the file are; Jackson Kanyike, Jude Mugerwa, Bull Wamala, Mike Sserwadda and Jude Muwongo.
They are all together with the legislators battling murder, attempted murder and terrorism charges.
State alleges that the accused persons were behind the Greater Masaka panga wielding goons who killed over 28 elderly people.
LAWYER MABIRIZI WANTED TO HELD THE TRIAL
In a new development, controversial incarcerated city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has applied to the Crimes War Division of the High Court to halt the pre-trial of the accused persons until the determination of his Constitutional petition against the Attorney General.
In his Constitutional petition, Mabirizi insisted that Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana are being politically persecuted by the state and the additional criminal charges brought against them are unjustifiable.
However, Turyamusima told theGrapevine that they will oppose Mabirizi’s application to stay proceedings of their clients because he doesn’t want them to rot in prison given that the Constitution Court is going to take a lot of time to determine his Constitutional petition.
Turyamusima added that what they want as per now is a speedy trial for their clients because they have established that the state doesn’t have evidence against them.
He emphasised that the only application filed by Mabirizi, which they will support is the one where he calls for merging of the two files, one at the Crimes War Division of the High Court and the other at Masaka High Court.
Recently, the accused persons applied for the merging of both files and the presiding judge promised that their matter will be handled in the pre-trial process.
Early this year, Justice Musa Sekaana, the head of the High Court Civil Division Kampala sentenced Mabirizi to 18 months imprisonment on charges of contempt of Court.
By Sengooba Alirabaki