Deputy Chief Justice Buteera opposes denial of bail for Capital offenses

Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera

Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera has called for the maintenance of the status quo on the discretion of granting bail to suspects in capital offences.

Justice Buteera who was on an inspection tour in the Masaka High Court circuit indicated that that the Courts of law and judicial officers are still guided well within the current law, on how to appropriately exercise their discretion while dealing with bail applications filed at various levels. 

His comments come at the backdrop of calls by President Yoweri Museveni, for a constitutional amendment to scrap the right to bail for capital offenders.  But according to Butera, judicial officers are operating within the set principles of adjudicating bail applications, which downplays the argument of misuse of their constitutional discretion.  

He said that the judges are properly guided on a number of considerations on which to base their decisions in bail applications brought before them.

Justice Buteera prefers that the proposal is subjected to an extensive debate by all stakeholders such that any decision taken is based on informed views. 

 He however indicated that the Judiciary will be duty-bound to implement whatever law that may be generated from the ongoing debate.

He on the other hand noted that the Judiciary is working out a strategy that will reduce the time of adjudicating cases to a maximum of one year.

He explained that in the next three consecutive financial years, they are looking forward to increasing the number of High Court Judges from the current 56 to 157, deployment of a Chief Magistrate in every district, and a Grade One Magistrate at every county level across the country. 

But President Yoweri Museveni; the principal agitator of the proposal to scrap bail from the constitution indicated that besides marketing his idea to members of parliament he also wants it to be subjected to a referendum. According to Museveni, granting bail to suspects of capital offences amounts to grave violations against the victims of their offences.    

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