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Journalists, Public Barred from Spy Tape Case Hearing

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In his submission, the state prosecutor Lino Anguzo told the magistrate that the request is not in bad faith but rather in the interest of justice and that of the witnesses that were supposed to testify in the matter.

Anguzo stressed that according to Article 40(1) of the Magistrates court act, Section 28(2) of the constitution and Section 14(2) of the official secrets act, the magistrate has powers to order for a hearing in camera if the matter has some issues concerning morality, public order and national security.

The state further told Buchana that the police officer is charged with unlawful disclosure of public assets adding that these have never been classified and is likely to be given as part of evidence during hearing which he said might be a threat to national security.

The prosecutor explained that he had aligned 2 witnesses who he said include police investigators and informers whose identity he would not want to be disclosed if the hearing was made public.

According to the prosecutor, the nature of evidence to be adduced in the matter if published might cause discord between the police leadership and cabinet.

However, the accused’s lawyers led by Shaban Ssenywa and Vincent Mugisha told court that the application was not in good faith stressing that his rights are continuously being stepped on by the state.

The defense lawyers told the magistrate that police tactics are not different from tactics of other investigators on other crimes which they said would permit hearing in public.

The Chief magistrate however, allowed only the defence and prosecution sides to her chambers for hearing to kick off.

Prosecution alleges that in March 2014 while at the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) headquarters, Kampala Road, Mapeera House, Office of the Prime Minister and the NRM secretariat, Ronald Poteli being in possession of an official secret entrusted to him in confidence as a person holding an office of the government of Uganda, did pass on confidential information to persons not authorised to receive it contrary to section 4(i) (a) of the official secrets act.

The detective was early last month arrested after an internal investigation indicated he had handed over the secret recordings to Prime Minister‘s wife, Jacqueline Mbabazi.

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