MOYO, UGANDA: The Chief Magistrate Court in Moyo district Friday released on bail the Madi Paramount Chief Drani Stephen after spending two weeks on remand over attempted murder and assault.
The embattled Chief was last month on April 19, 2023, remanded to Openzinzi prison by the Grade One Magistrate Mr Jude Kamaganga after court charged him with seven counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault.
Magistrate Mr Kamaganga at that could not grant the Paramount Chief bail citing that his court lacked the jurisdiction to try the case for its nature of being a capital offence.
However, the Court in Moyo sitting today, May 05, 2023, presided over by the Chief Magistrate Mr Ronald Kayizi today (Friday) granted the visibly nervous and worn-out Chief Drani bail on shs1m in cash and his two sureties bonded by shs10m non-cash.
The accused was also instructed to tender his passport and land title of the land in Lopire village in Pakele sub-county Adjumani district.
“I have considered the submission of both the counsel of the accused and the learned state attorney and this court has the discretion to give the accused person bail with or without sureties, it is not in dispute that the accused person is the paramount chief of the Madi, the state has not sworn any affidavit to prove that the accused person will interfere with the investigations,” Magistrate Kayizi ruled.
The chief magistrate reasoned that since the state prosecution is still conducting investigations and no timeline given for its completion, it would be unfair for this court to keep the accused person on remand and therefore decided to grant bail to the accused for the time being.
“The state attorney has told the court that the investigations are still incomplete, and he has not given the court timeline for when the investigation shall be completed, therefore, it will be unfair for this court to keep the accused person on remand when the court and state do not know when the investigation will be completed so that the hearing can commence,” he said.
Prosecution had earlier objected a bail attempt by Chief Drani on account that he is a paramount chief and committed the offence against his own subjects and will most likely interfere with witnesses and police investigations adding that all the counts are serious offences.
Prosecution further submitted that some of the sureties produced by Chief Drani are not substantial wondering how a peasant could compel a paramount chief to attend court.
Prosecution therefore requested that if court is to give the accused bail, he should be given stringent conditions like cash bail, depositing passport and land title, which the magistrate heeded to.
Ms Walea Sophie of Law Development Centre Legal Aid Services who represented the accused presented four sureties and reasoned that according to Article 28(a), an accused person in court is innocent until proven guilty or pleads guilty and keeping chief Drani in court is in breach of the law.
The case was adjourned till Friday, May 19, 2023, when Chief Drani will appear for mention of the case.
Before the court session started a group of Boda boda cyclists stormed the court gate and dropped leaflets protesting granting of bail to the embattled Chief Drani, they camped at the gate briefly `before dispersing peacefully.
The action of the Boda boda cyclists prompted swift police deployment at the court premises to curtail violence against Chief Drani and his allies.
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