Judge suspends court session after cells fail to open

Judge suspends court session after cells fail to open

The High Court session at Gulu High Court in Uganda was suspended on Thursday after padlocks of holding cells failed to unlock, local media reported.

It is said that the High Court judge, Justice Steven Mubiru, arrived to preside over the session at 9am when padlocks to two cells at the court jammed. Several attempts by prison warders to open the padlocks failed.

"We had to run back to the station (Gulu central Prison) to collect a hacksaw to cut and dismantle the padlocks," a prison warder who declined to be named told Daily Monitor. According to the warder, there were over 65 suspects in the cells.

Justice Mubiru postponed the hearings to August 29 and exited the chambers, just minutes after he arrived. Mr Joseph Akejo, a court official confirmed that the court had no option but to adjourn all the cases.

"There were over 100 cases, both appeals and criminal judgments whose rulings were to be delivered today but did not happen due to the jammed locks," he said.

According to Daily Monitor, among the suspects was 32-year-old Silvia Kyomuhangi who was in April sentenced to two years in jail for injecting a six-month-old baby with HIV infected blood in Kitgum town.

Mr Frank Baine, the Uganda Prisons spokesman told Daily Monitor that the jammed padlocks could not have caused the suspension of the session.

"It is really unfortunate that the judge left so quickly. I don't think it takes more than 30 minutes to cut a jammed padlock and the session would continue after," Mr Baine said.