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Court Bans Media Coverage on Pastor Kayanja’s Criminal Trespass Case

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The Nateete/Mengo chief magistrate, Adams Byaruhanga, issued a directive on April 5th, 2024, banning journalists from reporting on the proceedings of the case involving Rubaga Miracle Centre Pastor, Robert Kayanja, who is accusing 10 individuals of criminal trespass and alleged sodomy at his church.

In addition to journalists, the directive prohibits pastors and the general public from engaging in debates or comments regarding the ongoing case.

The background of the case traces back to 2021 when nine youths protested at Pastor Kayanja’s church, alleging unpaid salaries and sexual misconduct during their time there. This led to their arrest by the police and subsequent prosecution for criminal trespass.

The trial magistrate expressed concerns about the media’s portrayal of the case, which has sparked public debate. Furthermore, he criticized pastors for making unwarranted comments and judgments, citing contempt of court.

Additionally, the magistrate emphasized the dangers of media outlets disclosing the identities of the alleged victims of sodomy, warning against potential threats to their safety.

The directive extends its caution to online content creators, urging them to refrain from disseminating harmful narratives.

This move by the court evokes memories of a similar case in 2014 when the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate ordered an in-camera trial for Detective Ronald Poteri, accused of leaking secret audio recordings involving high-profile individuals. However, the High Court later overturned the decision, emphasizing the importance of evaluating requests for closed proceedings in a democratic society.

The ruling underscores the delicate balance between freedom of the press and the administration of justice, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of public interest and individual rights in legal proceedings.

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