Two of the four accused Pentecostal evangelists in the sodomy case involving Pastor Robert Kayanja, which court closed early this month pending judgment on October 1, want it reopened for further hearing.
Pastors Solomon Male, Martin Ssempa, Michael Kyazze and Robert Kaira, together with other two co-accused: Deborah Anita Kyomuhendo, businesswoman and David Mukalazi, a musician, are charged with conspiring to tarnish Pastor Kayanja’s reputation. This case was first handled by Grade One magistrate John Patrick Wekesa and was later re-assigned to Buganda Road Court magistrate, Julius Borore, after the former was accused of being bribed by Kayanja’s camp.
On August 8, Borore denied the accused persons permission to pursue their appeal in the Court of Appeal. They had filed an application, challenging the decision of High Court judge, Lameck Mukasa, not to recall the 21 prosecution witnesses. Borore ruled that the appeal was a delaying tactic to block delivery of justice. Following Borore’s order denying the accused a chance to appeal against Justice Mukasa’s ruling, two defence lawyers, Edward Akankwasa representing Male and Mukalazi and Paul Rutisya for Kyazze, Kaira and Kyomuhendo, withdrew from the case.
An application by another defence lawyer, Isaac Walukagga, to allow his client, Ssempa, two days to prepare his defence, was also rejected. On August 22, Walukagga petitioned High Court’s assistant registrar for a review of Borore’s decision, arguing that the magistrate erred in closing the case because his client had previously never been called upon to give his defence.
“The order of the trial magistrate to dispense with the accused persons defending themselves was erroneous, unconstitutional and in total disregard of time tested principles of natural justice, because the case had come up for only mention that day,” Walukagga stated in his petition.
Pastor Male also petitioned the Principal Judge on August 27, saying he was willing to defend himself since his lawyer had pulled out of the case yet his appeal is still in the Court of Appeal.
“I feel that the reason there are appellant courts is to ensure that people get fairly heard. Appealing against a decision in an ongoing matter cannot in any way be interpreted to mean a deliberate attempt to delay justice or unwillingness to defend ourselves, like the presiding magistrate said, unless the laws have been changed,” Male stated in his letter to the Principal Judge, copied to the Chief Justice, among others.
Male said several lawyers he has approached to represent him since Borore’s ruling that closed the case have declined, citing the circumstances and controversial nature of the case.