In the judgment delivered on 24thJanuary 2019 by the Hon Justices of the Constitutional Court; Hon. Justice Kenneth Kakuru, Hon. Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Hon. Justice Christopher Madrama unanimously dismissed an appeal where the appellant had been convicted for the offence of aggravated defilement contrary to section 129 (3) & (4) of Penal Code Act and sentenced to 19 years without the testimony of the 9-year-old victim.
It is now trite law that a sexual offence of defilement maybe proved in the absence of the victim’s testimony. What is critical to prove in the offence of aggravated defilement does not have to be founded on the testimony of the victim. What the prosecution has to prove is the ingredients of the offence which are; the victim was below 14 years, there was a sexual act with the victim and that the accused committed the sexual act.
In this particular case, although there was no eye witness and the victim didn’t identify the person or testify, there was a charge and caution statement made by the victim which he retracted.
The Hon Justices stated that the court can convict on a retracted or repudiated confession alone if it is satisfied that it is true. In this case it was considered to be true because it was made voluntarily and rightly admitted.
It is also settled law in Uganda that a conviction can be made basing on the evidence of the evidence without requiring corroboration of an eye witness.