Uganda: Bagyenda Stays Silent in Murder Trial

15 January 2020

Brian Bagyenda, a man accused of killing his 22-yearold girlfriend Enid Twijukye in January 2016, yesterday decided to remain silent in court instead of defending himself against the charges.

A suspect is at liberty not to defend himself or herself in a trial and stays silent. This means that the prosecution cannot cross-examine (ask probing questions) the suspect to test his/her defence.

Bagyenda, 29, and two others Innocent Bainomugisha, 24, a cleaner, and Vincent Rwahwire, 28, a casual worker, appeared in court for the hearing of their defence yesterday.

However, one of the defence lawyers, Mr Allan Sserulika, told court that Bagyenda had opted to remain silent while his two alleged accomplices made their defence in sworn affidavits where the prosecution will cross-examine them to test the merit of their defence.

Court also heard that the three defence witnesses of Bagyenda, who include his father, the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) director general, Col Frank Bagyenda Kaka, were unable to appear in court to defend him.

Other witnesses include; Jane Frances Bagyenda, Asiimwe Bagyenda and Dr Brian Mutamba, a psychiatrist from Butabika Hospital.

"At the last hearing of the case, we had prayed for witness summons. However, they were unable to appear. Our biggest problem is one of them is a nun and is undergoing a convention taking 18 days while Col Kaka is out of the country on state duties," Mr Sserulika said.

However, Bayenda's two co-accused, Bainomugisha and Rwahwire, told court that they knew Bagyenda as they helped him out in cleaning his compound whenever he contacted them.

Court heard that Bagyenda, Bainomugisha and Rwahwire were arrested by plain-clothed police officers on January 18, 2017 in Bugolobi.

"I was in the village when Bagyenda called me saying he wanted to meet me. I came back and we met at Nakumatt in Bugolobi where my brother Rwahwire found me waiting for Bagyenda who had also called him. However, we were arrested before Bagyenda told us the reason why he had called us," Bainomugisha said.

When asked by the state attorney whether they could do anything if they were requested by Bagyenda, the suspects said they would help out since he was their boss.

At the last hearing, Mr Nsubuga Mubiru, Bagyenda's lawyer, tendered in a medical report from Butabika mental rehabilitation hospital to prove the claim that he was mentally unstable at the time he committed the offence.

High Court Judge Moses Kazibwe Kaumi last week ordered Bagyenda and his two accomplices to defend themselves following a ruling that the 16 prosecution witnesses had proved a prima facie case (reasonable evidence) against the trio.

Prosecution states that on January 4, 2016 at Njobe Road in Nakawa division, Kampala District, Bagyenda and his two co-accused murdered Twijukye.

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