Stop Lawlessness in Court-Judiciary

Litigants have been warned against causing disorder and lawlessness in court. This follows Thursday’s incident in which businessman Hamis Kiggundu and his rowdy supporters stormed out of a pre-hearing session.

Kiggundu stormed out of the Supreme Court presided over by Lady Justice Elizabeth Musoke demanding to be heard in his pending application in a case in which, he seeks to recover 120 billion Shillings from Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and Kenya.

Kiggundu’s lawyers, led by Fred Muwema, argued in the application that DTB had introduced new grounds during the appeal process, and they sought judgment on the admission that DTB operated without a required license, resulting in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from their client’s bank accounts. But the DTB lawyers, led by Edwin Karugire, contended that the application was irrelevant as the main appeal was heard in November 2021.

Musoke agreed with Karugire and fixed the judgment in the main appeal for June 13th, 2023, which annoyed Kiggundu and his supporters.

They stormed out protesting the alleged unfairness of the court.

In a statement released on Friday, the judiciary said that the purpose of the session was to fix hearing dates for the applications, determine the format for the presentation of arguments, and draw timelines for filing of written submissions.

“However, at the time of giving directions by the presiding Justice in the HamEnterprises Limited and two others versus Diamond Trust Bank (u) Ltd and Another, Misc.App. No. 51/2021, the representative of Ham Enterprises Ltd became rowdy leading to commotion at the Court, nearly disrupting court proceedings”, reads the statement.

It added that, as the Judiciary, their mandate is to administer justice to all irrespective of social status, in accordance with the law, and in doing so, they act independently and are not subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.

“It thus goes without saying that no person and or authority shall interfere with the courts or judicial officers in the execution of their mandate. Parties to matters before the courts have to exercise patience and restraint, and accept to be guided by the courts, if unrepresented, or by their advocate(s) if represented”, adds the statement.

According to the Judiciary, if dissatisfied with the directives or orders of courts, parties should follow the laid down procedures and have their concerns appropriately addressed, through the right fora.

The judiciary has also condemned the attack on the person of the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo saying it was unwarranted.

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