DPP WON’T BLOCK BAIL UNTIL COVID LOCKDOWN IS LIFTED
By Mulengera Reporter
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo has ordered all her staff to refrain from pushing courts of law to deny suspects bail under the guise of incomplete investigations during the Covid19 crisis.
In a letter dated May 20 to all staff in the directorate and copied to all institutions under the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS), DPP Abodo has issued five new guidelines to guide prosecution during the Covid19 lockdown in addition to the previous ones she issued on April 16 and May 06.
Abodo has directed all prosecutors to ascertain whether a triable offence under the law has been committed, and ensure that investigations are complete before sanctioning any charges.
The DPP further discouraged the habit of detaining people and refusing to grant them bail with the lame excuse that investigations into the matter are still ongoing. Severally, prosecutors have argued against granting of bail to suspects, saying their temporary release would interfere with investigations. But Abodo wants the arrest-detain-charge-investigate vice stopped. She has also emphasized that all files must be sent to the headquarters before any charges are sanctioned.
“Sanction all cases where there is sufficient evidence against each of the suspects, but avoid sanctioning charges where the evidence is insufficient,” she guided. “Do not object to bail.”
On May 17, as he granted former Security Minister and presidential hopeful Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde bail after failed attempts in the general’s two-month stint at Luzira Prison, High court Judge Wilson Kwesiga revealed that he had delayed release of the former spymaster charged with treason and unlawful possession of fire arms because he wanted to give security agencies enough time to investigate. (See: JUDGE: WHY I TOOK LONG TO GRANT TUMUKUNDE BAIL).
Reacting to the DPP’s new orders to prosecutors, lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde of Legal Brains Trust said Abodo had been pushed by activists to make changes in the running of her office. “Pressure Works. Let that sink in,” wrote Ssemakadde, who faces cyber harassment charges for describing the new DPP as a rotten tomato” and “just another puppet.” Semakadde maintains that there is need for more comprehensive reforms which the new DPP must usher in rather than being cosmetic in her approach.
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