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“On Second Appeal, Court Is Only Concerned With Matters Of Law And Not Matters Of Fact Or Mixed Law And Fact” – Justices In The Court Of Appeal

In The Appeal Judgment In The Case Of Ernest Enzama V Uganda On The 25th Of June 2019 Arising From Criminal Appeal No.0323 Of 2015.

CORAM; MUSOKE ELIZABETH, STEPHEN MUSOTA AND PERCY NIGHT TUHAISE, JJA

The background of this appeal is that the appellant was convicted for the offence of corruptly offering gratification contrary to section 2(b) and section 26(1) of the Anti-corruption Act in the Magistrate Grade one and subjected to 12 months of imprisonment. The appellant dissatisfied with the above decision appealed to the High Court Anti-corruption division which dismissed the appeal and confirmed the trial courts conviction and sentence. Being dissatisfied with that decision too, the appellant lodged this appeal on grounds that the appellant judge erred in law when he failed to re-evaluate the evidence on record and thereby arrived at a wrong decision conclusion. 

The court pointed the law guiding the second appellant court on its duty under section 45(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Act that either party to an appeal may appeal a decision to the Court of Appeal on a matter of law, not including severity of sentence, but not on a matter of fact or of mixed fact and law. However, it was held that the second appellant court can re-evaluate evidence where it is shown that the first appellant court did not evaluate evidence or where they were proved manifestly wrong on findings of fact in order to ensure that justice is properly and truly served.

However in re-evaluating the court found that the learned judge of the first appellant court was alive to the ingredients of the offence in question and went at great length to appraise the evidence concerning each ingredient. The court was unable to accept the thrust of the appellant’s submissions that the learned judge did not appropriately re-appraise the evidence because basing on the record, the learned judge re-appraised the evidence and the judgment of the trial court and came up with concurrent findings with the learned trial magistrate. The appeal therefore failed on grounds that the appellant did not persuade the court that the first appellant court had not re-evaluated the evidence and he failed to point out instances where his right to fair trial was violated during court. Court therefore agreed with the above observations of the learned first appellant judge.