Seven Justices of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo have sentenced a former Presidential Aspirant, a one Mr. Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka to three years imprisonment for Contempt of Court.
This was after the Court unanimously found Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka guilty of uttering statements that tantamount to Contempt of Court.
Their Lordships cited S. 107 of the Penal Code Act, which states that any person who within the premises in which any judicial proceedings is being heard shows disrespect in speech or in a manner to or with reference to such a proceedings or any other person before whom such a proceeding is being or taken commits an offence of Contempt of Court.
While sentencing him, the Chief Justice noted that as Judicial Officers they are open to criticism since its the right of every man to make fair comments on matters of public interest but that criticism should be accurate and fair and shouldn’t infringe on the rights of others more so when its intended to obstruct the course of justice.
The Chief Justice also maintained that nothing would deter them (Justices of the Supreme Court) to do what they believe is right because silence is not an option when things are erred.
Ssebadduka’s troubles started on 4th September, 2020 when he filed a Presidential Election Petition in the Supreme Court against President Yoweri Museveni, Justice Simon Byabakama of the Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Health challenging the action of collection of signatures by Presidential aspirants amidst the threat of COVID-19 Pandemic.
However when he was called upon to defend his petition he instead described the Justices as “INCOMPETENT FOOLS” which behaviour their Lordships found to be that his sole purpose of petitioning the Court was to get an opportunity to abuse them and express disgust and disrespect he has for the Court.
This is the third time a person is convicted and sentenced for Contempt of Court; the first one being the late Suleiman Kiggundu’s Wife who was ordered to spend a whole day in Court prison cells for slapping her Co-wife before the Buganda Road Court and the second one being Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who was jailed for hitting a table before the General Court Martial in Makindye.