Fort Portal, Uganda | URN | A Criminal Appeals session has kicked off at Fort Portal High Court. A panel of three Court of Appeal Justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja, and Lady Justice Eve K. Luswata will adjudicate 42 criminal appeals during the three-day session.
Nineteen appeals stem 19 cases of aggravated defilement, 14 murder, seven aggravated robbery and two for rape. While opening the session officially, Vincent Wagona, the Fort Portal High Court Resident Judge revealed that in the 2021/2022 financial year, they concluded 7,456 cases while 8,902 cases are still pending. According to Wagona, 4,686 cases are in the backlog category.
He revealed that they have committed 7,045 cases to the High Court awaiting trial. Wagona explained that the High Court concluded 255 criminal cases in six High Court Sessions, 200 through plea Bargaining sessions, and 13 cases in the Juvenile High Court Session.
Wagona said that although case backlog and load have been a major challenge in the Fort Portal court circuit, they have applied strategies to reduce the problem including conducting regular High Court sessions.
Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera explained that the judiciary is committed to serving the people and ensuring that they receive speedy and fair hearings, adding that they are working on expanding and increasing the number of judicial officers country-wide.
“With increased staff in the judiciary, we expect better performance,” he said. The Fort portal high court circuit oversees six chief magisterial courts of Kasese, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Bundibugyo, Fort Portal, and Ntoroko. The Court of appeal last sat in fort portal in November 2020 where 20 appeals were heard.