By Spy Uganda
High Court Kampala Criminal Division has trashed jailed lawyer Male Mabirizi’s hopes of getting bail noting that the right is only available for accused persons not criminals who are already convicted.
The background of this application is that Mabirizi was convicted and sentenced by the High Court Civil Division to 18 months’ imprisonment for the offence of contempt of court when he used an ‘illegal’ language against judicial officers.
Mabirizi in his bail application no.095 OF 2022, said he has been in prison for more than 60 days and is thereby entitled to mandatory bail, that he has substantial sureties to stand for him and that it is fair and just that his application be granted.
In a ruling delivered on 24th November 2022, by Justice Isaac Muwata, court lectured Mabirizi that although the right to apply for bail is enshrined in the constitutional, he should know that the grant of bail is not automatic.
”The right to apply for bail is only exercisable by persons who are accused and not convicted persons,” Court ruled.
”I’m also equally aware that convicted persons may apply to court to be released on bail pending appeal. For the High Court to exercise its power to grant bail, the applicant must either be an accused person or a convict with a pending appeal before it. In the instant case, the applicant herein is not charged with any offence before this court, he is also not on remand but already serving a sentence. Similarly, he has no pending appeal before this court,” Court ruling further reads.
Muwata’s ruling reveals that the power to grant bail by the High Court only exists under statutory provisions and that the the Court has no inherent jurisdiction to grant mandatory bail to convicted persons moreover one who has no
charges or pending appeal before it.
”Exercising such power to grant bail to convicted persons with no pending appeal or appeals would in my considered view interrupt the serving of the sentence imposed by another court with similar jurisdiction,” ruling adds;
”Furthermore, release on mandatory bail only applies to accused persons on remand but not convicts. The applicant is not on remand as he is already a convict and therefore not entitled to mandatory bail.”
It’s from the above background that Court dustibined Mabirizi’s bail application leaving him without any other option but to comfortably serve his 18 months’ jail sentence.