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Judiciary Disciplinary Committee to Try Registrar for Assaulting Journalists

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In his application filed in September, Waninda asked the Judicial Disciplinary Committee to block his trial on the charges leveled against him, saying the matter had been overtaken by events since there was a similar case against him in the High Court Civil Division.
Left to Right: Smart 24 TV Journalist Hannington Kisakye, Salt TV journalist Eric Yiga and UJA Spokesperson Ronald Kabuye at the JSC in Kampala
Fred Waninda, the former Acting Commercial Court Registrar for Planning and Performance is to stand trial before the Judiciary Disciplinary Committee for assaulting two journalists. 

The Judicial Disciplinary Committee Chairperson, Norah Matovu Winyi delivered the ruling on an application by Waninda through his lawyers objecting to his trial for assaulting Hannington Kisakye, a journalist with Smart 24 Television and Eric Yiga of Salt TV.

In his application filed in September, Waninda asked the Judicial Disciplinary Committee to block his trial on the charges leveled against him, saying the matter had been overtaken by events since there was a similar case against him in the High Court Civil Division.  

In their application, Uganda Journalists Association and the two journalists sought compensation of Shillings 300 million from Waninda for assaulting them while on duty at the Commercial Court in April 2019.

The journalists were covering a session where Wainda had appeared to defend himself on allegations of forging an agreement with intentions of grabbing land belonging to Charles Mulindwa, a resident of Bugujju in Mukono Municipality.    

In August, Justice Andrew Bashaija, the head of the High Court Civil Division dismissed the application with costs on grounds that there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations against the accused such as a photograph or damaged camera.

This forced UJA and the aggrieved journalists to appeal against the ruling in the Court of Appeal. As a result, Waninda’s lawyers asked the Disciplinary Committee to dismiss the petition involving his matter.   

However, Journalists demanded that the Judiciary Disciplinary Committee subjects Waninda to trial, saying the Court of Appeal case hearing had not yet started adding that they only filed a Memorandum of Appeal.

The Judiciary Disciplinary Committee has agreed with the journalists and directed Waninda to plead to the assault charges at the next session on January 21st, 2020. 

The Committee has also directed the journalists to disclose to Waninda the evidence they intend to rely on so as to prosecute him.