The Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Marion Mangeni is set to determine whether or not State Prosecutor, Ivan Kyazze should take to the stand for cross-examination in the case of offensive communication against city lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde.
The magistrate made the decision on Tuesday following an application by Ssemakadde’s defence team to cross-examine Kyazze in relation to his submissions in the case.
City lawyer Robert Rutaro Muhairwe dragged Ssemakadde to the court in February 2022 by way of private prosecution for allegedly using his Twitter handle to attack Civil Division, High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana.
Rutaro argued that the obscene messages were meant to embarrass the Judge and lower his self-esteem in front of right-thinking members of the society.
He asked the court to summon Ssemakadde to answer for criminal libel, offences prejudicial to judicial proceedings and offensive communication.
However, in March 2022, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided to take over the matter drawing protests from Ssemakadde who argued that the takeover would among others amount to double jeopardy since he is being prosecuted for similar offenses pending investigations at the CID Headquarters in Kibuli. Ssemakade also argued that Buganda Road Court has no jurisdiction to try him over the offenses.
His lawyers also filed an application challenging the legality of the pending charges against their client. The magistrate then directed the state to respond to the submission from Ssemakadde’s legal team.
On Tuesday, Kyazze told the court that the constitution mandates the DPP to take over any criminal proceedings and discontinue them at any stage except when it's pending judgement.
He noted that the DPP had studied Ssemakadde’s application and is still inquiring about whether or not to continue with the case. Shortly after Kyazze’s submission, Ssemakadde’s legal team comprising Derrick Bazekuketta, Stanley Oketcho, Gawaya Tegulle and Pius Katumba asked Court to direct Kyazze to take oath for cross-examination on his submission.
Speaking on behalf of the team, Bazekuketta explained that they want to cross-examine the State Attorney over his claims that the DPP is still inquiring into the matter, saying there was no evidence to this effect.