Mbarara. Court in Mbarara presided over by the Chief Magistrates Samuel Twakiire has finally today ruled out in the case where Mbarara Councilor was attacked with acid. In the ruling three accused persons were convicted and sentenced to 14 years, the Mbarara Municipality Speaker Bony Tashobya Karutsya was found not guilty, neither participated in the offence that was earlier charged.
Five suspects, including Mbarara Municipal
Council speaker Bonny Tashobya Karutsya, his brother Cpl Denis Bataringaya, aka
Boyd, a soldier of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) attached to Bombo
409 Brigade, John Kizito Baryesiima, Emmanuel Mbaine and Geoffrey Ssali were
arrested and charged. Mr Tashobya was later released on bail.
On February 1, 2018, Ssali was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of attempted murder of Mr Katureebe.
He was later used by the State as a
prosecution witness to pin Cpl. Bataringaya, Baryesiima and Mbaine for participating
in the crime.
While delivering his judgment yesterday, Mbarara Chief Magistrate Samuel Twakyire said he convicted Baryesiima (A2), Mbaine (A3) and Bataringaya (A5) for attempted murder but acquitted Mr Tashobya because there was no evidence that he participated in the crime.
According to evidence from the prosecution presented by a police detective, it was sustained considering that there was collaborations between the Ssali Geoffrey and other three accused persons that is Kizito, Mbiine and Bataringaya apart from Tashobya. Court found that there was no proof of communication between A4 (Sali) and A1 (Tashobya).
The accused persons, Kizito, Mbiine and Bataringa have been on remand for one year at Mbarara Central Prisons. While Speaker Tashobya been report from out since he was released on bail by the same court in November.
“I agree that there were many procedural errors in recovering of
exhibits using, for instance, crime preventers, identification parade using six
not eight participants in addition to contradictions and inconsistencies but I
find that these did not go to the root of the case and they cannot exonerate
A2, 3 and 5. Therefore, this court finds that prosecution has proved beyond
reasonable doubt that Baryesiima, Mbaine and Bataringaya participated in this
case together with Ssali in attempting to unlawfully cause death of
Katureebe,’’ Mr Twakyire ruled.
“[for Tashobya], I find no proof of participation apart from the mention of the political wrangles. So he is found not guilty and therefore acquitted,” the chief magistrate added.
Ms Glory Hareruya, the State prosecutor, had asked court to give the convicts deterrent sentences since cases of acid attacks are on the rise in the country so that members of the public can learn a lesson.
Mr Patrick Rutembana,
Bataringaya’s lawyer, had pleaded for a lenient sentence of not exceeding two
years since the convict was a serving army officer by the time of arrest and
the government missed his services.
‘’The convict is a first offender. He was a serving soldier of UPDF and his services are still needed by the public. The convict is a head of a family, has a wife and children who entirely depend on him,’’ Mr Rutembana said.
He said punishing him with a severe sentence will be punishing his dependents.
Sentence to 14 years
Magistrate Samuel Twakyire said according to the Penal Act, attempted murder is punishable by up to life imprisonment, but considering the prayers of both lawyers, the convicts would be sentenced to 14 years in prison. “Section 204 of the Penal Code Act puts the maximum punishment at life imprisonment for this case of attempted murder. I agree with the prosecution that the case of acid is a serious crime and that public should get strong signal not to do the same. However, the defence lawyers have prayed for mercy on behalf of the convicts and the convicts have also been polite and I take it that they are useful,’’ Mr Twakyire ruled. “I have considered the time they have been on remand and so I sentence each of them to 14 years. I am not giving an option for a fine. The convicts have a right to appeal to a higher court,” he added.