The inspector general of police Martin Okoth Ochola has directed all police commanders to stop the arrest of rogue and vagabonds suspects.
This comes after a panel of five justices of the Constitutional Court issued a judgement nullifying sections 168(1)(C and D) of the penal code act that enforced the arrest of suspects on Rogues, vagabonds and other petty offences.
The court scrapped the offences on grounds that they are vague and infringe on the rights of Ugandans to free movement and presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
The justices agreed with the petitioners from the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum that there is no further justification for the Attorney General to keep the law.
Police spokesperson SCP Fred Enanga revealed that all police officers are directed to comply and stop arrests of such petty cases because they are not punishable under the stated offences.
Enanga said that this will apply to any persons found wandering in private or public spaces, suspected or reputed thieves with no visible substance, people being idle and disorderly, playing games for monetary gain or money worth in a public place.
“Being a prostitute, or behaving in a disorderly or indecent manner in any public place. Wanders or places himself or herself in any public place to beg or gather alms, or causes or procures or encourages any child to do so. Publicly conducts himself or herself in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace.” He stressed.
He added that among other offences that will not be charged on the public include; someone moving without lawful excuse, a Person convicted of an offence of idle and disorderly after having been previously convicted as an idle and disorderly person.
He explained that any police officer, who will be found dealing in vogue and vagabonds will face immediate disciplinary action for disobedience of lawful orders.
He cautioned the local leaders and the community to comply with the ruling.
Enanga clarified that despite some acts being subject to no arrest, other offences under the penal code act remain punishable.
Sections 160 a (1)and (2) of the act that target being a common nuisance remain punishable.
1. Any person who does not act not authorized by law or omits to discharge a legal duty and thereby causes any common injury or danger or annoyance, or obstructs or causes inconvenience to the public commits the misdemeanour termed a common nuisance and is liable to imprisonment for one year.
2. It is immaterial that the act or omission complained is more convenient to a large number of the public than it inconveniences but the fact that it facilitates the lawful exercise of their rights by a part of the public may show that it is not a nuisance to any of the public.
1. Any person who is found-
a. Armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument, and being so armed, with intent to break or enter any building, structure or curtilage and to commit a felony in it;
b. Having in his or her possession without lawful excuse the proof of which lies on him or her, any house-breaking instrument;
c. Having him or her face masked or otherwise disguised, with intent to commit a felony,
d. In any building structure or curtilage by night with intent to commit a felony in it.
e. In any building structure or curtilage by day with the intent to commit a felony in it and have taken precautions to conceal his or her presence.
f. By night wandering or moving about by whatever means and being armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on him or her, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 7 years.
2) Where a person has been previously convicted of a felony relating to the property is convicted of an offence under this section, he or she is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 10 years.
301. Persons found loitering, etc with intent
1) Where three or more persons are found loitering, wandering, moving about or concealing themselves, while any of them is armed with an article to which this section applies, with the intention of committing an offence against the person, every such person commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
2) In a prosecution for an offence under this section, proof that the accused was so found and so armed shall be sufficient evidence that the accused had the intention to commit an offence relating to property or an offence against the person unless the accused gives an explanation of his or her conduct, which salsifies the court that he or she had no such intention.
3) This section applies to a dangerous or offensive weapon, an imitation firearm or a house-breaking instrument