- Published on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 04:27
- Written by FLORA MWAKASALA
- Hits: 1275
A PANEL of Court of Appeal judges hearing an appeal challenging the age of movie actress Elizabeth Michael alias Lulu, is of the view that the petition is delaying the main case and thus subjecting the teenage actress to more time in remand.
The actress is facing murder charges of fellow movie star, the late Steven Kanumba, who died under mysterious circumstances at his home in Sinza in April, this year. However, the primary case facing Lulu has stalled for a while following an appeal by her defence team at the High Court, arguing that she should be tried at the Juvenile Court since she is below 18 years. T
he High Court Judge, Fauz Twaib, had earlier ruled that the age of the actress should be determined before hearing of the main case after which the prosecution filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal protesting the decision. Hearing the appeal at the Court of Appeal , the panel of judges led by Judge January Msofe, said even if Lulu was charged at the Juvenile Court the case would be heard by the High Court since the former has no jurisdiction to hear murder charges.
Defence Counsel Peter Kibatala argued that the defence's major argument was meant to protect the interests of the actress as a child. Judge Msofe asked whether a 17-year old child cannot be prosecuted to which Mr Kibatala responded in affirmative.
The judge also questioned the defence counsel as to which court has jurisdiction to hear murder cases and Mr Kibatala said it was the High Court. Judge Msofe explained that the movie actress is not the first child to be tried for murder and noted that the appeal was just a waste of time.
He further noted that before a court gives a verdict it normally makes consideration of Section 26 of the Penal Code which puts into consideration the age of the suspect at the time of the alleged crime. Earlier, State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi said the prosecution was not against a judgment given by the High Court previously but rather on some shortcomings of the ruling.
The State Attorney said the Judge at the High Court erred to interpret Section 44 (1) of Magistrate Act since he/she was supposed to present shortcomings he/she had found in the matter to the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court and not correcting the errors by him/herself.
Even though Mr Kibatala agreed that the case should be referred back to the Kisutu Court, the panel said it would state a date on which it would issue a ruling on the appeal.