Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The Prosecutor-General’s Office is now required to file application for leave to appeal against a decision of the High Court within 10 days after the judgment, according to the modified Supreme Court Rules made public recently.
According to the Statutory Instrument 89 of 2019 (1) published in a recent Government Gazette, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, in terms of Section 34(4) of the Supreme Court Act, approved the amendments of the Supreme Court Rules made by Chief Justice Luke Malaba in terms of the law.
The new regulations amended the Supreme Court Rules published in the SI 84 of 2018 in rule 30 by the repeal of sub-rule (1)(a) and sub-rule(2)(a).
Changes were also made to Rule 33 by the repeal of sub-rules (1) to (3) to read as follows: “(1) Where the Prosecutor-General wishes to appeal against — (a) the judgment of the High Court in any case in terms of Section 44(6) of the High Court Act (Chapter 7:06); or (b) the sentence of the High Court in any case in terms of Section 44 (7) of the High Court Act . . . he or she shall lodge an application for leave to appeal with the registrar and a duplicate notice of appeal with a registrar of the High Court within ten days of the passing of judgment.”
Under Clause 2, the PG’s Office shall, in the case of an appeal against High Court decisions, specify the judgments against which the appeal is brought and proposed grounds of appeal and submit written arguments in support of his case.
The same applies in the appeal against the higher court’s sentence. The PG may at the same time submit a request that the matter be set down for oral argument.
Clause 3 provides that on receipt of the judgement in terms of sub-rule (1), the registrar shall request a Registrar of the High Court to forward a copy of the judgment in the case, including the reasons of the judge or the High Court for sentence of judgment as the case maybe and a copy of indictment and such other documents in the case as he may require.
“After hearing the Prosecutor-General or, if he or she does not appear, on consideration of the written argument submitted in terms of sub-rule (2), the judge may grant or refuse the application,” read Clause 7 of the new rules.
The new regulations come at a time the judges were calling for the Legislature to amend Section 61 of the Magistrates’ Court Act to provide the time frame within with the PG may appeal against a judgment of a magistrates’ court in a criminal matter, as well as prescribing the period allowed to file an application for leave to so appeal.