criminal procedure

Topics: Jurisdiction, Supreme court, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (2475 words) Published: March 27, 2014
“Uganda’s criminal laws give judicial officials discretion to decide on the cases they wish to handle and empower them to make phone calls to accused persons to appear before their courts.” With the aid of authorities discuss the veracity of the above statement. With reference to the Black’s Law Dictionary a judicial officer is a person who holds an office of trust, authority or command. Judicial officers such as judges and magistrates have discretion to decide on cases they wish to handle however they are limited to Jurisdiction. There are three types of jurisdictions and they are; Territorial jurisdiction, Local jurisdiction and power to try cases. Firstly, in accordance to territorial jurisdiction, section 4(1) of the penal code cap120 lays down the extent of the jurisdiction of the courts of Uganda. It should be noted that the general rule under this section is simply that the jurisdiction of Ugandan courts is confined to crimes committed within the territory of Uganda. Section 4(2) provides exceptions stipulated in s.23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 of the penal code committed by a Ugandan outside Uganda. Such as Treason, acts intended to annoy the person of the President, concealment of treason, terrorism, promoting of war on chiefs and many others. It should be noted however that under international law, there is no restriction on the competence of the court to prosecute its own nationals for crimes committed outside its territorial jurisdiction if this right to national jurisdiction is conferred by statute. In Uganda vs Mustapha Atama 1975 HCB 254, where the accused a Kampala business man was charged in the chief magistrate’s court with obtaining money by false pretence contrary to section 9 of the PCA cap 106 now cap 120. The prosecution alleged that the accused while in the republic of Zaire obtained shs. 3360/- from the charge-d’ affaires of the Ugandan embassy by falsely pretending that he required the money for the maintenance of eight Ugandan soldiers who were stranded in Zaire while on an official mission. On the issue on whether Ugandan courts had jurisdiction over the matter as the offence had been committed in the Republic of Zaire, though in Uganda’s embassy. It was held that s. 6 of the PCA cap 106 now cap 120, confers jurisdiction to courts in Uganda to try offences committed partly within and partly without Uganda. While s. 2(b) merely presupposes the existence of a law conferring extra territorial jurisdiction to the courts in Uganda, in the absence of a Law enabling Uganda Courts to try nationals for acts committed whole outside Uganda, the Chief magistrate would have no jurisdiction to try such cases. Secondly, Local jurisdiction’s Magistrates are usually appointed to specific magisterial areas with reference to s.5 of the MCA. The general rule is that every offence must be tried by a court within the local limits of the jurisdiction where it was committed under s. 31 of the MCA cap 16. Should the accused be found outside the area in which the offence was committed, the court in whose local limits of jurisdiction he is found will have him brought before it and cause him to be removed, in custody, to the court having jurisdiction to hear the case under s.32 of the MCA. i.e the offence is committed in mbale and the fugitive is in Masaka, the court in Masaka will hand him over to the Mbale court which has Local jurisdiction over the offence that was committed by the accused. However where the offence is committed partly within and partly without the Local limits of jurisdiction, any court having jurisdiction in either the two places may hear the case with reference to s.37 of MCA. Thirdly on jurisdiction, the power to try cases, where an offence is committed in Uganda within the territorial boundaries and is committed within the local limits of jurisdiction of a particular magisterial area, the judicial officer handling the case will still have to ask himself whether he has the power to try the case, or...
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