City advocate Steven Kalali has petitioned the Constitutional Court to challenge the new bail guidelines issued by Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny -Dollo.
In his petition, Kalali accuses the Chief Justice of overstepping his administrative powers and instead usurping legislative powers to amend the constitution when he altered provisions on the grant of mandatory bail to capital offenders.
The lawyer explains that earlier before the issuance and subsequent gazetting of the new bail guidelines, the constitution mandated that if a suspect is charged with a capital offence such as murder, terrorism, rape, defilement, and Kidnap and spends 180 days ( 6 months ) on remand before he/she is committed to the High Court, that person is entitled to be released on bail by the Magistrates Court.
But according to the new bail guidelines set, the powers to grant mandatory bail are now vested in the High Court.
The new guidelines launched on 27th July 2022 mandate the clerk in the lower court to prepare the case file and send it to the registrar of the High Court, who then prepares a cause list for suspects to appear before a Judge to determine their bail.
Kalali says this takes away the rights to the presumption of innocence and freedom which are guaranteed in the constitution.
Further, the lawyer is aggrieved with the fact that in attempting to amend the constitution, the Chief Justice omitted to consult the general public which must have a stake in the governance of this country.
He, therefore, concludes that the new bail guidelines as issued by the Chief Justice are a disguised attempt by the ruling arm(Executive ) to scrap bail for capital offenders.
Kalali seeks a permanent injunction stopping the implementation of the guidelines and an order quashing the same for offending the constitution.