Criminal Sessions Case No. 284 of 2018 before: Hon Justice Stephen Mubiru.
Judgment was entered on the 24th August, 2018
The two accused and two juvenile offenders were jointly indicted with the offence of Aggravated Defilement contrary to Section 129 (3) and (4) (a) of the Penal Code Act.
It was alleged that between the month of August and October, 2017, the two accused and the two juvenile offenders performed unlawful sexual acts with a minor. The two accused and two juvenile offenders pleaded not guilty to the indictment. When the trial began and the prosecution had established a prima facie case, the accused intimated to change their respective pleas. They had the indictment read to them and they all changed to a plea of guilt.
The prosecution stated that while the victim was staying with her grandparents, the accused repeatedly had sexual intercourse with her. She reported the issue to her grandparents but she was ignored till she ran away to her maternal auntie who reported the matter to the police and the accused were arrested. The victim was a juvenile and the accused were 23 and 18 years of age respectively while the juveniles were 16 and 17 years of age respectively. They were remorseful in their allocutus and prayed for a lesser sentence. The defense also prayed for a lesser sentence since they had pleaded guilty and hence not wasted courts time.
The offence the accused are charged with attracts a death sentence but that is reserved for the gravest circumstances as stated in Regulation 22 of The Constitution (Sentencing Guidelines for Courts of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, 2013 and that evidence has not been adduced to that effect. Further that since death was not the likely outcome of the action; death sentence has been discounted on the accused. The life sentence would not be appropriate in the circumstances since the accused are remorseful and of a young age coupled with the fact that they are first time offenders, they needed a rehabilitative sentence and not a deterrence sentence. Considering the case of Ninsiima v. Uganda Crim. Appeal No. 180 of 2010 which set the sentencing guidelines, the judge considered the gravity of the action of the accused, the fact that they were first time offenders, were also remorseful and very young capable of reforming. He also noted that the juveniles being young were incapable of having a death sentence passed against them in accordance with S 94 (1) (g) of The Children Act, which states that in such instances the maximum period of detention is to be three years. The accused were subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison. The juveniles were sent to spend 12 months in a remand home.