Uganda: Judge Suspends Evidence in Kanyamunyu Murder Trial

17 February 2020

Kampala — Court on Friday suspended evidence presented by a government ballistic expert in the murder trial of Kampala businessman Matthew Kanyamunyu after the defence lawyers raised a point of "material differences" in two police request forms submitted to the department government analytical laboratory (DGAL) for examination.

Justice Stephen Mubiru said he would conduct a trial within a trial tomorrow to make the final decision on whether to uphold the evidence or strike it out.

A trial within a trial is a mini trial to resolve a contradiction on the admissibility of certain evidence.

Ms Robinah Kirinya, the principal government analyst from Firearms and Tool marks Division, had testified that gunpowder had been detected on Kanyamunyu's trousers and shirt which he wore on the fateful day.

"In my opinion, the most probable source of the elements lead, barium, antimony and nitrate radicals detected on the pair of blue trousers exhibit 2a; blue and white checkered shirt exhibit 4 and items of glove compartment of moto vehicle exhibit 5 is gunshot residues," Ms Kirinya told court.

The 58-year-old ballistic expert also testified how, upon examination, she detected gun powder on several items recovered in Kanyamunyu's car glove compartment, which car he drove on the fateful day.

Defence team

However, defence lawyers MacDusman Kabega, Caleb Alaka, and Evans Ochieng presented two police requests that were sent to the DGAL in Wandegeya, Kampala, which they said had serious material contradictions.

They said one of the police requests sent to DGAL stated that Kanyamunyu allegedly shot Akena using a pistol. The lawyers argued that this kind of information was intended to bias the examiner in his/her findings.

They further said the second police request for examination did not contain the claim of Kanyamunyu's alleged shooting of Akena, which request, they say was shared with court.

The other piece of evidence that was also suspended by justice Mubiru was the conclusion by the ballistic expert that Kanyamunyu's car and Akena's car had contact at points of scratches.

"What is submitted is forgery and the report of the ballistic expert should be expunged from the court record," Mr Kabega asked court.

However, Senior Principal State Attorney Jonathan Muwanganya explained that the differences in the police request forms could have come about because they were written by two different police officers.

Kanyamunyu case

Prosecution states that Kanyamunyu and his girlfriend, Cynthia Munwangari, on November 12, 2016 near Malik Car Bond opposite Uganda Manufacturers Association main gate on Kampala-Jinja Road murdered Kenneth Akena, a children rights activist.

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