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Stella Nyanzi's trial flops, remanded until 2019



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Former Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi, has been further remanded and is likely to spend Christmas in Luzira Prison after she objected to the cybercrime charges under the Computer Misuse Act on grounds that they are defective and cannot stand.

Dr Nyanzi, through her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, told Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court presided over by Ms Gladys Kamasanyu that the particulars of the charges against her do not disclose the precise offence she committed, thereby rendering the charges bad in law.

“The counts are a duplication of each other. Cyber harassment which details three descriptions of obscene or indecent in respect to the Facebook post at issue dated September 16, 2018. Each of their description would independently constitute an offence under the law,” Mr Ssemakadde argued.

The court heard that combining the descriptions in one count is a prejudice to Dr Nyanzi and leads to an incurable illegality.

Mr Ssemakadde has now asked the court to dismiss and strike off record the charges against his client for being grossly defective, bad in law and set her free.

Dr Nyanzi, who is in remand at Luzira Prison, had appeared for hearing of prosecution evidence but instead objected to the charges.

She is facing charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication.

The resident State Attorney Janat Kitimbo responded to Nyanzi’s objection by asking for more time, saying she had come ready for hearing and thus the defence lawyer’s application was an ambush.

While appearing in court on November 9, Dr Nyanzi declined to apply for bail. Her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde asked the court to order the state to speed up the investigations so that she can go on trial.

The state Wednesday said they were ready to prosecute the case before parading four witnesses to testify against Dr Nyanzi.

The prosecution contends that on September 16, Dr Nyanzi posted on her Facebook page suggestions deemed obscene against the president’s deceased mother.

It further stated that she repeatedly posted messages to disturb or attempted to disturb the President’s peace or right to privacy.

This is the second time Dr Nyanzi has been taken to court on charges of attacking President Museveni and his family.

The case has been adjourned to January 10, 2019 for the state to respond.