Skip to main content

The Penal Code Act

This Code shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of legal interpretation obtaining in England, and expressions used in it shall be presumed, so far as is consistent with their context, and except as may be otherwise expressly provided, to be used with the meaning attaching to them in English criminal law and shall be construed in accordance therewith.
6. Ignorance of law.
Ignorance of the law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence unless knowledge of the law by the offender is expressly declared to be an element of the offence.
7. Claim of right.
A person is not criminally responsible in respect of an offence relating to property if the act done or omitted to be done by the person with respect to the property was done in the exercise of an honest claim of right and without intention to defraud.
8. Intention and motive.
(1) Subject to the express provisions of this Code relating to negligent acts and omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of his or her will or for an event which occurs by accident.
(2) Unless the intention to cause a particular result is expressly declared to be an element of the offence constituted, in whole or in part, by an act or omission, the result intended to be caused by an act or omission is immaterial.
(3) Unless otherwise expressly declared, the motive by which a person is induced to do or omit to do an act, or to form an intention, is immaterial so far as regards criminal responsibility.
9. Mistake of fact.
(1) A person who does or omits to do an act under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in the existence of any state of things is not criminally responsible for the act or omission to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as he or she believed to exist.
(2) The operation of this section may be excluded by the express or implied provisions of the law relating to the subject.
10. Presumption of sanity.
Every person is presumed to be of sound mind, and to have been of sound mind at any time which comes in question, until the contrary is proved.
11. Insanity.
A person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if at the time of doing the act or making the omission he or she is through any disease affecting his or her mind incapable of understanding what he or she is doing or of knowing that he or she ought not to do the act or make the omission; but a person may be criminally responsible for an act or omission, although his or her mind is affected by disease, if that disease does not in fact produce upon his or her mind one or other of the effects mentioned in this section in reference to that act or omission.
12. Intoxication.
(1) Except as provided in this section, intoxication shall not constitute a defence to any criminal charge.
(2) Intoxication shall be a defence to any criminal charge if by reason of the intoxication the person charged at the time of the act or omission complained of did not know that the act or omission was wrong or did not know what he or she was doing and—
. (a) the state of intoxication was caused without his or her consent by the malicious or negligent act of another person; or
. (b) the person charged was by reason of intoxication insane, temporarily or otherwise, at the time of such act or omission.
(3) Where the defence under subsection (2) is established, then in a case falling under subsection (2)(a) the accused person shall be discharged; and in a case falling under subsection (2)(b), the provisions of the Magistrates Court Act relating to insanity shall apply.
(4) Intoxication shall be taken into account for the purpose of determining whether the person charged had formed any intention, specific or otherwise, in the absence of which he or she would not be guilty of the offence.
(5) For the purposes of this section, “intoxication” shall be deemed
to include a state produced by narcotics or drugs.
13. Judicial officers.
Except as expressly provided by this Code, a judicial officer is not criminally responsible for anything done or omitted to be done by him or her in the exercise of his or her judicial functions, although the act done is in excess of his or her judicial authority or although he or she is bound to do the act omitted to be done.
14. Compulsion.
A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if it is committed by two or more offenders and if the act is done or omitted only because during the whole of the time in which it is being done or omitted the person is compelled to do or omit to do the act by threats on the part of the other offender or offenders instantly to kill him or her or do him or her grievous bodily harm if he or she refuses; but threats of future injury do not excuse any offence.
15. Defence of person or property and rash, reckless and negligent acts.
Subject to any express provisions in this Code or any other law in force in Uganda, criminal responsibility—
. (a) for the use of force in the defence of person and property; and
. (b) in respect of rash, reckless or negligent acts,
shall be determined according to the principles of English law.
16. Use of force in effecting arrest.
Where any person is charged with a criminal offence arising out of the arrest, or attempted arrest, by him or her of a person who forcibly resists the arrest or attempts to evade being arrested, the court shall, in considering whether the means used were necessary, or the degree of force used was reasonable, for the apprehension of that person, have regard to the gravity of the offence which had been or was being committed by the person and the circumstances in which the offence had been or was being committed by the person.
17. Compulsion by husband.
A married woman is not free from criminal responsibility for doing or omitting to do an act merely because the act or omission takes place in the presence of her husband; but on a charge against a wife for any offence other than treason or murder, it shall be a good defence to prove that the offence was committed in the presence of, and under the coercion of, the husband.
18. Person not to be punished twice for same offence.
A person shall not be punished twice either under this Code or under any other law for the same offence.
CHAPTER IV—PARTIES TO AND PERSONS INCITING TO COMMIT OFFENCES.
19. Principal offenders.
(1) When an offence is committed, each of the following persons is deemed to have taken part in committing the offence and to be guilty of the offence and may be charged with actually committing it—
. (a) every person who actually does the act or makes the omission which constitutes the offence;
. (b) every person who does or omits to do any act for the purpose of enabling or aiding another person to commit the offence;
. (c) every person who aids or abets another person in committing the offence.
(2) Any person who procures another to do or omit to do any act of such a nature that if he or she had done the act or made the omission the act or omission would have constituted an offence on his or her part, is guilty of an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment as if he or she had done the act or made the omission; and he or she may be charged with doing the act or making the omission.
20. Joint offenders in prosecution of common purpose.
When two or more persons form a common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose in conjunction with one another, and in the prosecution of that purpose an offence is committed of such a nature that its commission was a probable consequence of the prosecution of that purpose, each of them is deemed to have committed the offence.
21. Incitement to commit an offence.
(1) When a person incites any other person to commit an offence punishable with death, whether or not any offence is committed in consequence of the incitement, and no express provision is made by this Code or any other law for the punishment of that incitement, he or she is liable to imprisonment for ten years.
(2) When a person incites any other person to commit an offence punishable other than by death, whether or not any offence is committed in consequence of the incitement, and no express provision is made by this Code or any other law for the punishment of the incitement, he or she is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one-fourth of the term of imprisonment provided for the offence which he or she incited the other person to commit or when the offence is punishable by a fine only by such fine as is provided for the offence or when the offence is punishable by both a fine and imprisonment by both one-fourth of the imprisonment provided for and the fine.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), if the person who incites the commission of an offence under that subsection is a public servant whose duty it is to prevent the commission of that offence, he or she is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one-half of the term of imprisonment provided for the offence which he or she incited the other person to commit or when the offence is punishable by a fine only by such fine as is provided for the offence or when the offence is punishable by both a fine and imprisonment by both one-half of the imprisonment provided for and the fine.

-->