The Court of Appeal sitting at Fort Portal had delivered five Judgments in the ongoing Criminal Appeals Session by close of business on Friday November 13th.
This brings the number of concluded appeals to eleven in a space of five days, having delivered four Judgments on Wednesday and dismissed two appeals on Friday.
Justices; Kenneth Kakuru, Christopher Madrama and Irene Mulyagonja overturned a life imprisonment sentence that had been handed to Nuwamanya James, Bwambale Sunday aka Kibwetere and Muhindo Asansiso for Aggravated Robbery but maintained the conviction. The appellants’ sentences were reduced as follows; the first appellant was sentenced to 16 years and eight months while the second and third appellants were each sentenced to 14 years and eight months after court deducting time spent on remand. The Court was fortified by the need to promote reconciliation amongst the family members as a key consideration in reducing the sentences. The younger offenders were treated more leniently than their elder.
The Court enhanced the sentence of Elly Musinguzi who had been convicted for Murder of his biological father on his own plea of Guilty. The Court allowed the appeal against his 19 year sentence on the grounds of illegality but maintained the conviction. The three Justices unanimously agreed to increase his sentence to 20 years and two months jail term considering that he killed his own father by pounding his head several times after resisting his attempt to snatch a plate of food from him.
In the Appeal of Turyahikayo Augustine, where he was appealing against the sentence of 20 years for Aggravated Defilement, the Court allowed the Appeal against sentence but maintained the conviction. “We find that 20 years imprisonment in addition to the one year and 11 months on remand is harsh and excessive in the circumstances and amounts to an injustice,” the Justices observed in their judgment. The Court went on to reduce the sentence to 12 years and one month.
The Court reduced a 20-year jail term handed to Patrick Nyakana for the offence of Aggravated Defilement to 11 years.
The Justices also set aside a 45-year sentence handed to Nahabwe Livingstone for two counts of Murder. They reduced his sentence to 22 years and four months in each count and added that the appellant would serve both sentences concurrently.
In their Judgment, the Court expressed concern on the disparity of sentences that are handed down by the High Court for similar offenses to accused persons that are incarcerated in the same prisons across the country. Earlier on, their Lordships had decried the overwhelming numbers in prison and had called upon all judicial officers to provide quick solutions.
The Court’s Deputy Registrar, Ayebare Tumwebaze, said the hearing phase had ended on Friday (November 13) and reiterated that the Justices were committed to ensure that the remaining judgments are delivered within three weeks’ time.
He was glad that all the lawyers and State Attorneys were soundly committed to the task and indeed delivered good returns. He also appreciated the prisons authorities who did their best to employ the technology for virtual hearings leading to the success of the scientific session.