A criminal Court of Appeal session has commenced in Gulu district this morning, with 63 cases set to be presided over by a panel of three judges; Justices Kenneth Kakuru, Fredrick Egonda Ntende and Lady Justice Hellen Obura.
According to the Judiciary, 63 cases under consideration in Gulu emanated from High Court sittings in Acholi and Lango sub regions. They include 33 murder appeal cases, five rape cases, 19 defilement cases, four aggravated robbery cases and one case of criminal trespass and manslaughter respectively.
The maiden sitting in Gulu was opened this morning by Justice Kenneth Kakuru on behalf of the outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma. He said that the regional sitting aims at cutting the cost of dispensing justice.
Justice Kavuma called on the government to recruit more judges in order to dispose-off a huge case backlog in the court of Appeal adding that the judiciary has been struggling to take services of the Court of Appeal to regions, due to a shortage of judges.
The court thereafter dismissed four appeals lodged by ex-convicts who have since been released from jail after serving their full sentences. They included two defilement cases, one rape case and one case of manslaughter.
Most of the appellants were not in court. Their lawyers asked the court to dismiss and close the files after failing to receive instructions to proceed with them.
Moses Onencan, the Principal State Attorney leading lawyers representing the government in the appeals told the court they have no objection with dismissing and closing the files.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru, the lead justice of the Court of Appeal sitting in Gulu apologized for delays in hearing the appeals and said the appellants are at liberty to reinstate their appeals.