Rwanda: Husband to Deceased City Pastor Mutesi Challenges Life Sentence at High Court

8 November 2018

Drake Mugisha, the husband to Maggie Mutesi who in September last year mysteriously died at her home in Kigali, has appealed against a life sentence given to him by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court.

Mugisha on Thursday appealed against the life sentence for having strangled his wife to death.

Appearing before High Court judges, he challenged the authenticity of the autopsy report that pinned him the murderer of his wife, the founder of Heavens Gates Ministries Kigali.

Mugisha's three lawyers said the autopsy report released by King Faisal Hospital, was carried out by an inexperienced doctor.

The autopsy report signed by Dr. Lynnette Kyokunda Tumwine showed that the deceased had died under circumstances of strangulation evidenced by contusion at the left back side of her head, cerebral haemorrhage and head injuries.

Lawyer Florida Kabasinga told the jury that she wrote to Rwanda Medical Council petitioning them to explain medic's area of expertise and that the feedback they got was that Dr. Kyokunda was not an expert in the requisite medical field.

"The Medical Council told us that Dr Kyokunda is not a forensic pathologist but an anatomic pathologist. Our view is that for someone to be sentenced to life sentence evidence must be accurate beyond reasonable doubt," Kabansinga told court.

According to Kabasinga, it is only a forensic pathologist who is supposed to prove beyond reasonable doubt about the circumstances in which the deceased died.

Kabasinga also added that the fact that Dr Kyokunda hesitated to swear an oath before testing the witness stand as a prosecution witness is yet another reason to discard her testimony.

"We also ask the court to consider the manner in which Kyokunda first submitted the report and refused to sign an oath before testifying before court," she said.

Prosecution dismissed the claims by defence challenging the autopsy report and said that it was made by a doctor in position to do it.

"We asked the hospital about Dr Kyokunda's profile, we were told she no longer worked there but they confirmed she is a qualified doctor to carry out autopsy," said prosecution.

Prosecution added that they have since written to the medical council about the same and are awaiting a response.

The presiding judge postponed the hearing to December 7 when all parties will be given enough time to present evidence for or against the autopsy report that saw Mugisha, a former military officer, condemned to life imprisonment.

Mugisha retired last year from Rwanda Defence Forces at the rank of captain.

The couple had had family wrangles but had apparently reconciled and had to withdraw from court the divorce case they had filed.

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