On what grounds and when is a pre-trial detention allowed?


A magistrate’s court – before which a person arrested and intended appears – may at any stage in the proceedings:

Indeed – according to the Ugandan law – the personal liberty is the rule and detention is the exception. Thus the grounds of a pre-trial detention are found when the grounds of a release on bail are not.

In deciding to grant or refused the release on bail, the magistrate’s court may refuse a release on bail and thus allow a pre-trial detention if:

  1. the nature, gravity and severity of the punishment of the offence explain a detention;
  2. the antecedents of the person to be released explain a detention;
  3. the person to be released has not a residence within the area of the court’s jurisdiction;
  4. the person to be released is likely to interfere with a witness or evidence.

Where bail is not granted, the court shall record the reasons and inform the applicant of the right to apply for bail to a chief magistrate or to the High Court, depending on the circumstances of the case.


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