Judge Fauz Twaibu ordered the defence lawyers to present the evidence and supporting documents by way of affidavit , Lulu is charged at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court with murdering local movie star Steven Kanumba on April 7, this year, at Sinza Vatican.
Defence counsel led by advocate Peter Kibatala filed the application at the High Court seeking the determination of the accused’s age, in there statement they claim that Lulu has not attained the age of 18 years to merit prosecution in an adult court.
The application by Mr Kibatara followed a decision by the lower court to turn down their request to transfer the murder case to a juvenile court on the ground that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
However, in his ruling yesterday, Judge Twaib quashed and set aside the decision by the resident magistrate’s court to refuse to entertain the application, saying it was an error in law and an abdication of duty.
“Consequently, I hold that the lower court was wrong to refuse to entertain the application, thinking that such an enquiry could only be done by this court. I quash and set aside the decision of the Kisutu Court,” the judge ruled.
The judge said that, considering the seriousness of the charge facing the applicant and the urgency of determining whether or not the applicant is entitled to the benefits of the Child Act and in the interest of justice, the court is invoking its supervisory powers under Section 44 of the Magistrate’s Court Act and shall proceed to determine the correct age of the applicant in terms of Section 113 of the Child Act.
The judge said that the nature and seriousness of the charge facing the applicant, the lack of any possibility for securing bail, during the pendency of the charge and undisputed urgency of the matter require that the controversy about her age be determined the soonest.
He further ruled that, in the meantime, the proceedings of the murder case at the lower court should stay, pending determination of the applicant’s age in the High Court. The judge ordered the applicant’s counsel to produce evidence on their client’s age on June 13 while prosecution required submitting their reply on June 20 while the hearing would be on June 25.