31 August 2012

Uganda: Senior UPDF Officer Challenges Murder Charge

Lt Col. John Kaye who is facing murder charges before the General Court Martial has petitioned the Constitutional court seeking to stop proceedings against him before the highest military court.

The General court martial began trying Kaye over murder charges in relation to the shooting dead of a 28-year-old man Steven Kabuye at his home at Nalumunye, in Wakiso district last year.

Kaye is alleged to have killed Kabuye when he drove the wife of the UPDF officer back home after a night out in the wee hours of the morning with another friend.

The UPDF officer admits that he shot Kabuye dead suspecting him to be a thief because he tried to attack him after he opened his gate for him.

In April, Kaye demanded that the recently promoted Maj. Gen Charles Angina who was the then chairman of the military court, to stop trying him on grounds that he feared he would convict him in revenge, owing to the bad working relationship between them dating back to 2008 when the suspects served under him.

Angina refused to step aside on grounds that Kaye had not substantiated his claims until he was recently replaced by Brig. Fred Tolit as the new chairman of the UPDF court.

In a dramatic twist, Kaye in a petition that was received by the court of appeal on July 2, the UPDF officer wants the constitutional court to order that proceedings against him in the General court martial be stopped and charges be continued in a divisional court martial either at Makindye or Bombo military headquarters.

The petition that was filed in court by Kaye's lawyers; Kiyemba and Matovu advocates is support by his affidavit. The court martial was served a copy of the petition this week.

Kaye also wants court to declare that he is eligible to apply for bail pending the hearing and disposal of the petition and the case against him.

He was denied bail in the military court on three occasions on grounds it was likely that he would interfere with witnesses and presented weak grounds for his bail.

Kaye argues that the decision to deny him bail and refusal to uphold his objections deprived him of a fair trial and expectation of impartiality before the General court martial which contravenes several constitutional provisions.

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