The Chairman of the General Court Martial Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti has halted the bail hearing application for three police officers who are facing charges of kidnap and unlawful possession of firearms.
The three officers are SPC Faisal Katende, Amon Kwarisiima and Detective James Magada. This after their lawyers Caleb Alaka and Frank Kanduuho presented before the Court Martial a ruling by High Court Judge Justice Margaret Oumo Oguli, which indicated that the UPDF lacks jurisdiction to try serving police officers when there is Police Council that is legally mandated to handle such cases.
Justice Oguli also ruled that the Police Act gives police officers a mandate to hold firearms without requiring a license in the course of their duties and thus the Court Martial acted out of its jurisdiction to bring illegal firearm possession charges against these people.
The accused’s lawyers further told the army court that it was under high court instructions to hand over the accused people to Police to be tried by the force.
In response, lead prosecutor Major Raphael Mugisha advised the army court to respect the High Court order and have the accused handed over to police.
However, in his ruling the court martial chairman Gen Gutti adjourned the matter to March 27, and ordered all police officers who were being detained at Kigo Prison to be transferred to Makindye military police, and for the civilians to be detained at Kigo.
“The UPDF has always respected the law; that’s why there is harmony in the country and it will always continue to do so,” Lt. Gen. Gutti told counsel Alaka.
Other police officers being tried by the Court Martial include Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Joel Aguma and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nixon Agasirwe.