20 June 2017

Uganda: Stella Nyanzi Bail Intact, Mental Test Plea Delayed

Photo: Alex Esagala/Daily Monitor
Makerere University Research Fellow Stella Nyanzi at Buganda Road Court recently.

Buganda Road Court has halted government's request to ascertain the mental status of Senior Makerere University Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi. This, court said, will stay pending disposal of her petition challenging the Mental Treatment Act of 1938.

Chief Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda ruled that he could not render Dr. Nyanzi's petition useless, since she was not challenging her cyber harassment  trial, but had to allow the Constitutional Court exercise its jurisdiction and resolve the  question of whether the compulsory subjecting of suspects to the Mental Treatment Act enacted during colonial era, is still relevant.

Magistrate Eremye also declined to cancel  Dr.Nyanzi's bail. Prosecution had argued that she defied the subjudice rule by attacking Resident State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya who kept turning up in court not ready to proceed.

Dr.Nyanzi posted the utterances on her facebook page.

Magistrate Eremye ruled that much as the language Dr. Nyanzi used was "kind of hard ", but he did not find the said posts to be subjudice nor were they discussing the merits of the case before court, but that this was a manifestation of dissatisfaction on the part of the court user,  and rather  an opportunity for all the parties in the case to re examine how they conduct public affairs.

Dr. Nyanzi's trial on charges of offensive  communication and cyber harassment against the person of the President will now continue on July 21, 2017 before Buganda Road Court.

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