How Dokolo Magistrate Court is Efficiently Delivering Justice with a Small But effective Team.

In a recent District Coordination Committee meeting held at Dokolo Magistrate Court, The Magistrate in charge Dokolo Court also the chairperson District Coordination Committee Dr. Namae Irene was eager to share the achievements and progress made by her team.

With only 8 staff members, Dokolo Magistrate Court has been able to handle a variety of civil and criminal cases. 

According to Namae, in April, the Court successfully completed 35 cases, with criminal cases being dominant.She noted that most of these criminal cases have underlying land disputes.

“As of April 2024, the Grade 1 court had only 45 pending cases and the Chief Magistrates court had only 75 pending cases.This is a testament to the competency and dedication of the Judicial Officers and staff at the court” Namae said 

She told the meeting that the court has also adopted the innovations by the Judiciary such as plea bargains, small claim procedure and mediations to reduce on case backlog.

However, Chief Magistrate Court of Dokolo handles cases from Dokolo, Amolatar and Namasaale courts, Namae confirmed that the Court doesn’t have a resident Chief Magistrate but is care taken by the Chief Magistrate of Lira.

“It is worth noting that many cases that are filed in the Chief Magistrates court are violence related cases such as Arson, Doing grievous bodily harm and Assaults. Domestic violence cases and theft of all kinds also top the list of cases registered” she added.

Namae said many issues are resolved in the local councils and clans before reaching the court, which speaks to the level of respect and adherence to the law in Dokolo district.

Dr. Namae also took the opportunity to thank the people of Dokolo for being law-abiding citizens. She noted that unlike other districts, Dokolo does not have “bush lawyers,” and the community respects the legal system. 

Despite the court’s successes, She notes that there are still some challenges that need to be addressed like ; lack of a stationary car for transportation, which affects the court’s ability to reach out to remote communities. 

Additionally, Dokolo lacks a Remand home for Juveniles as the nearest Remand home is In Gulu. The court premises are also not fenced and this poses security concerns. 

Furthermore, the Court doesn’t have toilet facilities for the staff and has only one three stance pit latrine used by the court users and in-mates.

The court also has understaffing of the Office of the DPP as it has a sole state Attorney who handles cases before the Grade one and Chief Magistrate and also on several occasions handles sessions in the High court of Lira.

It is imperative to note however that Dokolo Magistrate Court has proven to be a crucial pillar of the justice system in the district. Despite the challenges faced, the staff has remained dedicated and continued to provide excellent service to the community.

Meanwhile, SP Patience Baganzi, the district police commander, has reported a significant decrease in crime rate in Dokolo district during the months of January, February, and March. 

This is based on the data collected from the district police department, which shows a total of 377 cases registered during this period. 

Among these cases, 271 are currently under inquiry, 59 have been sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecution for further action, and 48 are in court.

However, the numbers have drastically dropped in April 2024, with only 99 cases being registered. Out of these, 74 are under inquiry, 23 have been put away, and 13 are still pending in court. 

She urges the community to cooperate and follow the necessary procedures to prevent such act.

“In addition to these cases, the district police department has also registered other crimes such as child neglect, number plate theft, and many others” Baganzi said.

Baganzi emphasizes the importance of reporting any such incidents to the police and urges the citizens to be vigilant and responsible for their own safety.

 

The RDC Dokolo, Ms. Barbara Akech appreciated the work of the Court and stated that she has never received any complaint from the community about the work of the Judicial officers and the Staff and that the people are grateful for timely delivery of Justice.

Other officers in attendance were; Officer in charge Dokolo police station SP Oyo Thomas, DISO Francis Otim, Office in charge Koroto Prison Ezra Musinguzi, Onyuka Emmanuel who represented Uganda Law society among others.

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