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Judiciary speaks out on bullets sent to high court judge with threatening message

On Monday, June 20 received the five bullets wrapped in an envelope with a letter inside addressed to Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, the Resident Judge and Assistant Registrar of the Court of Judicature, Jessica Cheemeri, plus other plaintiffs in a court case now under police investigations.

Soroti High Court Judge, Justice Henry Peter Adonyo is under threat (Photo/File)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Judiciary has finally opened up on the threats sent to one of its top judges and other judicial officers who received five bullets and death threats from a person whose identity has not yet been established.

The story which first appeared in Saturday’s New Vision paper indicated that one of the staff at Soroti High Court on Monday, June 20 received the five bullets wrapped in an envelope with a letter inside addressed to Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, the Resident Judge and Assistant Registrar of the Court of Judicature, Jessica Cheemeri, plus other plaintiffs in a court case now under police investigations.

According to the Judiciary Public Relation officer, Mr. James Karemani, this is an act of cowardice that indirectly inflicts on the independence of the Judiciary which is protected by the Constitution.

“This act of cowardice is an unwarranted indirect affront on the independence of the Judiciary which is protected by the Constitution,” Karemani said on behalf of the Judiciary in a Sunday press release statement.

Quoting Article 128 of the Constitution, the institution explained that no person or authority shall interfere with the courts or judicial officers in the exercise of the judicial functions.

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“Article 128 of the Constitution provides that no person or authority shall interfere with the courts or judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions. The Judiciary should be left to exercise its mandate to adjudicate. Whoever wants to frighten judicial officers and the courts with a view of derailing justice should be brought to book and condemned,” the statement added.

The statement adds that the law provides for an appellant system for redress by aggrieved parties and as such, there is no need to intimate judicial officers as they dispense justice.

“That said, we reassure court users and the public at large that the Judiciary remains committed to administering justice to all without ill will, fear or favour,” it added.

How the Bullets reached the Judge

According to sources in the judiciary, the sender of the letter (who remains unknown at the time of writing) sent the package in a parcel via bus from Kampala to Soroti city, and when the bus reached Soroti city, one of the conductors made a phone call to Cheemeri to come and pick the judge’s package.

Since she was busy, she sent one of the Court staff to go and pick it on her behalf.

The source disclosed that when the staff brought the letter, it was taken to the judge’s office. When the judge told her to open it, they discovered the bullets with the threatening messages.

“The judge was in panic, he directed the Registrar and the staff who brought the letter to report the matter to police immediately and to their bosses in the judiciary.”

Justice Henry Peter Adonyo was transferred from the High Court Commercial Division Kampala after his judgement in the Ham vs DTB bank case in which he declared that DTB bank Uganda was illegally demanding Shs.200bn debt from controversial tycoon Hamis Kiggundu, the proprietor of Ham Enterprises Ltd because the money was illegally borrowed.

He is also remembered for dismissing with costs a land matter against the King of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi. He declared that controversial lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi filed his land case against Kabaka illegally.

Other Instances od Threats to Judges

Other judges who have received threatening messages in the past include, Justice David Matovu of the High Court Family Division, who received a text message threatening him on his phone.

Unknown people disguised as boda boda riders attacked Buganda Road controversial magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu and insulted her badly, the same magistrate was also insulted by Dr. Nalongo Stella Nyanzi who threw a bottle of water at her in the middle of Court proceedings.

Early this year, the Principal judge Flavian Zeija was also attacked after a suspected bomb was thrown at him on his way to Kampala from Masaka. His vehicles were badly damaged.

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Moses Kule, the Rukungiri chief magistrate also received a threatening letter packed with bullets.

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