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Uganda: Court Stops Mental Status Test Against Dr Nyanzi

KAMPALA- Buganda Road Court has temporary stopped the request by the State to subject suspended Makerere Research Fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi to a mental status test until her petition challenging the same is determined by the Constitutional Court.

In his ruling on Tuesday, Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Mr James Ereemye, stated that after examining both the defence and state arguments, he found that there is need to stop the proceeding under the Mental Treatment Act of 1938 as sought by Dr Nyanzi since they do not in any way affect the main suit.

The magistrate also said that he was satisfied that Dr Nyanzi’s case merited to be referred to the Constitutional Court in order to determine her issues and not have them frustrated by the lower court.

“The proceedings under the Mental Treatment Act 1938 are hereby stayed pending the determination of Application No.18 of 2017 filed in the Constitutional Court,” Mr Ereemye ruled.

In the initial stages of the cyber and offensive communication charges against Dr Nyanzi, the state applied to court to have her subjected to a mental status on grounds that her behaviours were suspicious.

Further in his ruling, Mr Ereemye said the main case in which the outspoken research fellow is accused of abusing President Museveni as “a pair of buttocks” on her Facebook wall, will proceed.

“The applicant here is not challenging her trial under the criminal procedure and in fact states categorically that she is ready for trial on charges brought against her,” he said.

Still in the same court, Mr Ereemye declined to cancel Dr Nyanzi’s bail that would see her taken back to Luzira Prison as earlier requested by Mr Jonathan Muwaganya, a state attorney.

Mr Muwaganya had two weeks ago,  accused Dr Nyanzi to have continued posting offensive words on her Facebook page despite being cautioned to restrain herself until her matter is concluded.

“I was asked to determine if the applicant’s Facebook posts fall within the ambit of violation of the sub-judice rule or contempt of court .My considered answer is no. I have not found anything in that post that discusses the merits or demerits of the case before me,” Mr Ereemye said.

He clarified that all that is clear in Dr Nyanzi’s post is are misgiving and expression of dissatisfaction, a form of complaint about the manner a public officer conducted themselves at the expense of those they a supposed to serve.

Before Mr Ereemye could adjourn the matter, he warned judicial officers like advocates and prosecutors to respect the sanctity and integrity of courts as temples of justice.

He adjourned the case to July 21.

“This has been a sweet ruling. I have seen that there is still some transparency in some judicial officers after my request to stay the mental status proceeding was granted,” Dr Nyanzi said.

©Daily Monitor

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