Law Soc jumps to defence of DWS in Uganda treason case

The Law Society has moved in to defend Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) against accusations that it was involved in the prosecution of a Ugandan opposition politician.

The society was responding to a parliamentary question from Mike Hancock MP on 22 May to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Margaret Beckett concerning reports that DWS was prosecuting opposition leader Kizza Besigye for treason.

Following the question, Alison Hook, head of the society’s international department, defended DWS in a letter to Beckett and Hancock.

She wrote: “Denton Wilde Sapte is an English commercial firm and has no in-house expertise on criminal litigation, less so on Ugandan criminal law. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this case, Denton Wilde Sapte has been much maligned and its reputation damaged by the incorrect allegations that led to your parliamentary question.”

As reported by The Lawyer (22 May), DWS’s associated firm Kampala Associated Advocates has been hired by the Ugandan government to prosecute Besigye on treason charges, which can be a capital offence.

A DWS spokesperson said: “The actions of the Law Society and the lack of response from the Government demonstrate that this is just a storm in a teacup.”