The High Court in Kampala has on Friday dismissed an assault case filed by journalists Hannington Kisakye, Eric Yiga and Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) against Commercial court registrar in charge of planning, performance and development Fred Waninda.
The court registrar had been accused of assaulting Kisakye attached to Smart 24 Television and Yiga attached to Salt TV.
Waninda was caught on camera on April, 24, 2019 slapping Kisakye in the face for recording him while exiting the Commercial Court where he had testified on allegations of forging an agreement with intentions of grabbing land belonging to Charles Mulindwa, a resident of Bugujju in Mukono municipality.
However, in his sworn affidavit filed by his lawyers of Rwakafuuzi and Company Advocates, Waninda stated that the two journalists were being used to blackmail him.
He noted that looking at their affidavits in court, the duo indicate private individual interests and not public interest as reasons for the suit which shows their scheme of blackmailing him.
He also asked court to order the complainants to compensate him up to Shs300 million.
In his ruling, Justice Andrew Bashaija dismissed the case saying the assault in question did not weigh up to human rights violation. The court has gone further to direct journalists to compensate Waninda.
Justice Bashaija also accused the journalists of failure to produce the damaged camera or any video or photographs to prove that it was damaged.
“This Court sounds a warning to the lawyers and all the parties to desist from the habit of throwing all sorts of cases in court of law just for the sake or for gaining publicity,” the judge warned.
After the ruling, the journalists’ lawyer Eron Kiiza said they will immediately appeal against the ruling which he termed as unfair.
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