Posted in Criminal Law, Laws of Uganda

How the police gathers evidence

It is rather alarming that murders carried out by gunmen on motorcycles, our very usual BodaBoda’s, have become common further claiming the lives of people dear to us. Be that as it may, there is hope that the police as mandated to ensure safety, maintain law and order and also facilitate prosecution of criminals will do its job.
So, when murders are committed by criminals, what does the Police do?
On receipt of a complaint as to an attempted murder or actual murder having occurred, the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department at the nearest police station, immediately gives instructions to the available investigating officers and a Scene of Crime officer to immediately go to the crime scene, condoned it and make necessary investigation and arrests where necessary.

The two categories of officers that are meant to appear at the scene of crime;

  1. The Scene of Crime Officer or officers.
  2. The Investigating Officer.

The Scene of crime officer (SOCO) is mandated to seal or cordon off the crime scene, mark items found at the crime scene such as bullet shells, any dead bodies, skid marks or any vehicle or motorbike, any murder weapons, and draw a sketch map of the crime scene, take photographs of the crime scene, The same officer obtains and seals off any form of exhibits or materials to be used investigating and prosecuting crime ,lastly the SOCO prepares a detailed report concerning the examined crime scene.

The Investigating officer works (IO) works hand in hand with the (SOCO) in the carrying a full blown investigation that is to collect and store any exhibits, attain information from any available witnesses by recording witness statement, making arrests of any identified suspects, ensures medical examinations and post-mortem examinations are carried out by certified doctors and reports made. The investigating officer compiles a police file that contains documents including witness statements, exhibit slips, a scene of crimes report and sketch as drawn, photographs, post-mortem reports, forensic reports and charge sheet where any suspects are arrested and charged.
The police file is forwarded to a resident state attorney to make and guide prosecution of crimes for example by approving any charges as preferred against any suspects arrested and consequently have the suspects taken to court for prosecution of offences.

FORMAL STEPS OF A CRIMINAL TRIAL AND PROSECUTION;

  1. Charging and arrest of suspects,
  2. Where the offence is of a capital nature (this means the punishment for it is death) the suspects are presented before a Chief Magistrate for committal to the High court,
  3. The High Court receives the court file and an indictment of the accused,
  4. The High Court appoints assessors to be part of a trial of any accused people.
  5. Arraignment of the accused. The accused take plea as to the charges and indictment read out to them. (PLEAS: a plea of guilty, not guilty, previous conviction or acquittal and a plea of pardon).
  6. Where the accused plead not guilty the court sets the case for hearing where the prosecution is tasked to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offences.
  7. The prosecution introduces and examines its witnesses.
  8. The prosecution witnesses are cross-examined by the Defense counsel and representatives of the accused.
  9. The court calls upon the accused or his advocate to make a submission on a no case to answer.
  10. The court makes a ruling as to whether the prosecution established any case against the accused, where it is found that there is no case to answer made the accused is acquitted. Where the court rules that there is a case to answer then the accused will be called to raise a defense upon which he or she is charged.
  11. The accused may call witnesses who are to be examined by the defense and cross examined by the prosecution.
  12. The seating Judge sums up all the details of the case to the assessors and await their opinion of what was presented and examined in the prosecution before court.
  13. The seating Judge is to listen to the opinion and findings of the assessors to guide the making of a judgment however he or she is not bound by their opinion.
  14. The judge is to pass judgment in regards the indictment, evidence, witness testimonies before court.

Lastly, where the accused is found guilty the judge is to use his or her discretion to pass a sentence upon the accused.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JosephSemuju

JOSEPH SEMUJU

Joseph Semuju leads the programming team at Crossroads Digital Multimedia Limited. He is a native Ugandan and has worked for the Crossroads Digital Multimedia Limited as a 3D Computer Animator for the last two years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a second class – upper division from Makerere University. Joseph is someone who is constantly on a mission to keep things running smooth, fast, and in a more automated fashion. No tech question scares him; if he does not know the answer, he takes time to find it. He is detail oriented, thrive on efficiency, and ready to impact a positive change in Africa and the rest of the world through research, writing, and active citizenship.

Posted in Laws of Uganda

How Uganda came to have the laws it has today

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos.

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior.

Uganda’s laws have changed over time but most significantly during the colonial period.

Before the colonial period, Uganda was made up of smaller communities i.e. kingdoms and chiefdoms and these mainly practiced customary law which varied by Community.

When Uganda became a British colony, the colonial government brought an umber of laws to be used to govern the country. The first set of laws were brought from other colonies e.g. India and these mainly applied until 1902 in what came to be known as the 1902 Order in Council which formally allowed for the colonial laws to apply to Uganda.

Again, further changes came about in 1920 when the 1920 Order in Council was introduced. One important addition from the 1920 Order was the establishment of a Legislative Body, which eventually became what is Parliament today. However, back then, its membership was only made up of Europeans.

This went on until independence in 1962, when many of these laws were “localized e.g. laws that said the Queen was Head of State were replaced with the President as head of state.

In 1962, Uganda also got its first Constitution and the Constitutions have evolved to include the 1966 and 1967 and 1995 Constitutions.

However, many of the laws we have in Uganda today are merely revisions of the laws that were brought in during colonial times. E.g. the Divorce Act is from 1904, Penal Code Act is from 1950 etc. with the addition of new laws e.g. the Land Act of 1998, Computer Misuse Act of 2011.

In addition, Customs were also allowed to be practiced as long as they do not go against the Constitution. This is why we still have Customary marriages, Customary Inheritance, Customary systems of land ownership etc. while Customs like Female Genital Mutilation are illegal.

Finally, because of this shared colonial past, Ugandan laws are still similar to the laws in the United Kingdom, India, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania and other former colonies.

Uganda and India have similar laws as a result of our Colonial past. In fact, many of our laws, including the Penal Code Act were borrowed from India.

The definition of Rape in Uganda is similar to the definition of rape in India and is defined as having sexual intercourse with a woman without her permission (consent) or where she gave permission but the permission was obtained by tricks.

Court in India have touched on this issue of Consent and said that when a woman is drunk, she is not in her right senses and so not capable of giving consent (permission) to the sexual intercourse, which could mean such a sexual encounter might amount to Rape.

What do you guys think, should Uganda also follow such an interpretation?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JosephSemuju

JOSEPH SEMUJU

Joseph Semuju leads the programming team at Crossroads Digital Multimedia Limited. He is a native Ugandan and has worked for the Crossroads Digital Multimedia Limited as a 3D Computer Animator for the last two years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a second class – upper division from Makerere University. Joseph is someone who is constantly on a mission to keep things running smooth, fast, and in a more automated fashion. No tech question scares him; if he does not know the answer, he takes time to find it. He is detail oriented, thrive on efficiency, and ready to impact a positive change in Africa and the rest of the world through research, writing, and active citizenship.