Judge Denies Recusal Request in Molly Katanga Murder Trial

Judge Denies Recusal Request in Molly Katanga Murder Trial

In a significant development in the murder trial of Widow Molly Katanga, charged with the death of her husband on November 2, 2023, the defense’s request for a prosecutorial recusal has been denied. Last week, the defense team requested Justice Isaac Muwata of the Criminal Division of the High Court to recuse Ms. Samali Wakooli from prosecuting the case.

The defense argued that Ms. Wakooli, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, demonstrated potential prosecutorial bias. They pointed to conflicting dates, noting that Ms. Wakooli signed the indictment order and referenced DNA evidence in January, even though the results were only available in April. The defense claimed this discrepancy indicated bias and argued that her involvement necessitated her testimony as a defense witness.

Today, Judge Muwata addressed the trial’s resumption with a crucial decision. He rejected the recusal request, explaining that the indictment report did not detail the evidence and that the Director of Public Prosecutions has the authority to assign responsibilities to officers, including having Ms. Wakooli sign the indictment.

The defense team, led by Jet Tumwebaze, did not contest this decision. They had previously secured a favorable ruling allowing Ms. Katanga to attend the trial remotely from Luzira Prison via video link.

With this decision, the prosecution is now set to begin cross-examining two of its witnesses, moving the trial forward despite the defense’s earlier objections.

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