Uganda’s juvenile justice system is on a test as Court in Gulu plans to prosecute a 12-year-old boy for allegedly defiling a three-year-old girl who lives in the neighborhood.
The suspect reportedly defiled the young girl from their home in Kitgum Municipality on August 13, was later arrested and charged with aggravated defilement before the high court in Gulu.
The minor has from the time of his arrest been committed to Gulu High court and later remanded to Gulu Remand Home. However, on Monday, his lawyer Paul Mukiibi pleaded that the minor should be released on bail, to allow him access treatment because he was living with HIV.
State Prosecutor Patrick Omiya on the other handargued said that the accused could take advantage and escape since his parents, had separated.
The Gulu High Court Judge Stephen Mubiru said that the law doesn’t require a juvenile to stay on remand for a long time provided he/she has sureties. The Accused’s parents stood surety for him.
Mubiru advised the mother to be the primary custodian of the accused and share responsibility with the father when it comes to taking the accused to Court. The court released the minor on a non–cash bail of 500,000 Shillings levied on his sureties. He will appear before the court on November 4, 2019.
One of the defendants’ lawyers Immaculate Owomugisha, who also doubles as the Head of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation at Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS –UGANET said that granting the minor bail clearly showed that the Judge minds about the minors and their well -being.