Three Judges to Handle 300 Plea Bargains in One Week

6th, September 2021

Three Judges of the High Court camped at Kitalya prison to expedite the conclusion of at least 300plea bargained agreements.

The Judges; Hon. Justice David Batema (Senior Resident Judge, Mukono) Hon. Lady Justice Henrietta Wolayo (Resident Judge Mubende), Hon. Justice Michael Elubu (Head, Criminal Division), set up mobile chambers at the prison facility as a means of taking court services closer to accused persons.

Three mobile courts we reset up at the prison grounds with dedicated spaces for prosecution and lawyers representing the accused persons.

There are (106) plea bargain cases are from Mukono High Court, (75) from Mubende, (72) from Kampala(Criminal Division) and (43) from Mpigi High Court.

In his report to the Judges, the Officer in Charge of the Prison, OC Ayikomumdu Hamid, reported that the facility had (2,298) inmates. These include (983) remandees facing capital charges. And of these, (418) are committed to the High Court for trial.

He thanked the Judiciary for the innovations in place that have improved the administration of justice. He said at least 170 inmates attend court daily via videoconferencing.

SP Geoffrey Natabona Mangeni, the outgoing in-charge of the Kitalya Prison Farm, equally commended the Justice Law and Order Sector for supporting the Plea Bargaining programme which has helped reduce on the number of remandees in prisons. Adding that itwas an efficient initiative in the disposal of cases.

"The prisoners are excited about the programme being held here because they will get to know with certainty of their time in prison," he reported.

Before the court sessions could kick off, Hon. Justice Batema sensitized the inmates on their rights. 

The focal person in charge of Plea Bargaining in the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Ms Margaret Nakigudde briefed the inmates on the benefits of the quick access to justice initiative. She observed that negotiations can be in respect to sentence or charge. Ms Nakigudde, however, emphasized that Plea Bargaining is a voluntary programme for those who know that they are guilty and interested in negotiating their sentences.