15 November 2018

Uganda: Lawyer Blocks Committal of Magara Murder Suspects to High Court

Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court yesterday failed to commit nine suspects in the murder of Susan Magara after their lawyer objected to the move.

The matter had come up for committal of the suspects to the High Court for trial, however the suspect's lawyer Mr Evan Ochieng blocked the move after the tenth suspect was included on the charge sheet yet he was never brought to court.

"I want to indicate to court that we have no challenges with the committal, however, it has some challenges. Court cannot commit a non-existent person, A1 (accused one) who is still away in South Africa," Mr Ochieng submitted.

"Upon committal an accused is supposed to indicate line of his defence by notifying court if he will call any witnesses. We contend that an indictment needs a current format in the interest of justice and upon committal of all suspects, I pray they are given a copy," Ochieng added.

In reply to the defence lawyer's worries, state prosecutor Ms Patricia Chingtho sought for an adjournment until Monday to revise the indictment so that the nine are committed to the High Court to face trial.

The suspects are charged with two counts of murder and kidnap with intent to procure a ransom contrary to provisions of the Penal Code Act.

The prosecution states that the suspects in jail and others still at large on February 7, 2018 kidnapped Magara, a cashier with Bwendero Dairy Farm (BDF) with intent to procure a ransom or benefit from her liberation from the danger of being murdered. The indictment further states that the accused later murdered Magara on February 27, 2018 at Kigo in Wakiso District.

The deceased was kidnapped while driving home in Lungujja, Rubaga Division and taken captive for 20 days with her captors demanding Shs700m for ransom. She was later brutally murdered and her body disfigured and dumped off Entebbe Road.

Majority of the suspects were arrested on April 27 in an operation at Usafi Mosque, Kiguli Village in Kisenyi III Parish in the capital Kampala, by a joint team of army and police.


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