Criminal Sessions Case No. 183 OF 2017, UGANDA V O.J (A Juvenile) Before: Hon Justice Stephen Mubiru, Judgment On 6th August, 2018
When this case came up for plea, the juvenile offender was indicted with the offence of Aggravated Defilement c/s 129 (3) and (4) (a) of the Penal Code Act.
On 1stFebruary 2017, the victim left home at around 11 am to go and fetch water. On her way to the well, she met someone who requested her to go with him to his room that there was someone who wanted to talk to her on the phone. The offender asked the victim to pick the phone on his bed behind the curtain. He followed her behind the curtain and had sexual intercourse with her. Her brother followed her and found her having sexual intercourse with the offender in his room. The offender fled leaving the brother with the sister in the room. The brother reported to the father who reported to the police and the offender was arrested and indicted. On examination, the victim was found to be 13 years old and the offender was found to be 18 years with full dental formula and fully developed secondary characteristics. Both police forms; P.F. 3A and P.F 24A and the immunization card were tendered as part of the facts. Having pleaded guilty, the judge ascertained that the facts as stated by the state prosecutor were true and found the offender responsible for the offence of Aggravated Defilement c/s 129 (3) and (4) (a) of The Penal Code Act. Submitting in aggravation, the prosecution proposed that the victim having been introduced to sex at an early age, and the victim having been on remand for a year, he should be given 2 years’ custodial order. In response, the learned defense counsel Ms. Harriet Otto prayed for lenient disposition orders on grounds that; the juvenile offender has pleaded guilty and not wasted time. He is very remorseful. He has spent one year and six months on remand. At the time of arrest, he was in senior three at Gulu Senior Secondary School. He is still a young person and if given time to go back he has learnt a lesson on remand and can still be useful. She prayed for lenience and proposed that under section 94 of The Children Act, he should be cautioned and released.
The offender having pleaded guilty and being remorseful, the children act calls that where the child has been on remand, at sentencing, the remand period should be considered. In the result, the offence charged is not serious to have called for a maximum sentence of 3 years, since the offender has already been on remand, “time served” is an appropriate punishment for the juvenile offender and he should accordingly be set free unless he is being held for other lawful reason.