Substantive rights

James Sawoabiri,Fred Musisi v Uganda ((Cr.Appeal No.5 Of 1990)) [1991] UGSC 1 (4 June 1991);


Search Summary: 

The appellants allegedly robbed the complainant of a
mercedes benz at gun point. They were convicted of
robbery contrary to sections 272 and 273(1) (now 285 and
286(1)) of the Penal Code Act and they appealed

contending that they were not accorded a fair hearing
because their counsel was absent at the commencement of
the trial and as such, the evidence of the prosecution
witnesses wasn’t challenged by cross-examination.

Headnote and Holding: 

The court considered whether the appellants’ right to a fair
hearing was violated. The court held that it was important
for persons accused of a serious crime to have the
advantage of counsel to assist them before the courts and a
conviction following a trial couldn’t stand if there had been
a refusal to hear the counsel for the accused. The court was
not satisfied that the appellant’s right was violated since it
was the duty of defence counsel to appear, or, if he was
unable to do so, to have another lawyer hold his brief and
appear with instructions to make before the court any
necessary application for adjournment. The court
accordingly concluded that the appellants’ right to a fair
hearing wasn’t violated.


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