Accompanied by several police officers and prison warders, Rwenzururu king King Mumbere arrived at the Jinja High court dressed in a black suite, white shirt and necktie at exactly 10:16am today ready for his bail application hearing .
However, the hearing stalled after the DPP requested court to transfer the case file to the International Crimes Division of the High court (ICD).
State prosecutor Rachel Bikhole informed presiding justice Eva Luswata that she had instructions to oppose the hearing of Mumbere’s bail application before the Criminal Division of the High court arguing that the case can only be heard by the International Crimes Division because it has jurisdiction to try terrorism offences which is one of the offences that Mumbere is charged with.
Bikhole stated that the ICD rules state that bail is heard by a single judge from the would-be trial court or any other judge designated by the Principle Judge to sit as one from the ICD.
She has asked Justice Luswata to transfer Mumbere’s bail application to the ICD as it doesn’t prejudice his rights in anyway.
However defence lawyers led by Caleb Alaka say that DPP’s request has been done in bad faith since he is the very person who requested the Chief Justice to transfer court from Kasese where the offences are alleged to have been committed to Jinja magistrates’ court.
Alaka added that the ICD rules are only applicable when an accused has been committed to face trial before the same court and since Mumbere is not yet sent there, any High court judge has unlimited jurisdiction to grant him bail.
Justice Luswata has said she will deliver her ruling on whether to refer Mumbere’s bail application to the ICD on Thursday 12th /January 2017 when the King returns before the magistrates court for mention of his case.