By Lalam Gloria
The Court of Appeal has concluded its two-week session in Gulu. The court that was sitting at Gulu High Court opened its session on Monday, 25th November 2019 and ended it on Friday, 6th December 2019. The Court of Appeal was presided over by three judges; Justice Kenneth Kakuru the lead judge, Lady Justice Percy Night Tuhaise and Justice Remmy Kasule.
This court heard 42 cases that included aggravated defilement, murder and robbery among others and pronounced 9 sentences at its closure. During the court’s ruling, it was able to adjust and increase some of the verdicts depending on their grounds of appeal that were submitted before to the court. The judgments ranged from the highest sentence of life imprisonment to the lowest of 13 years 6 months jail-term.
Two appeal applications were dismissed, one appeal application attracted more years, and one life sentence was reserved while five other appeal sentences were adjusted. Two cases were adjourned for hearing on 12th December 2019 from Kampala Court of Appeal premises on Twed towers. All the other sentences that were not ready shall be put on notice. Justice Kenneth Kakuru closed the session and thanked all the litigants and counsels for taking part in the two-week session that started from Monday, 25th November to Friday, 6th December 2019.
Community Service sentence upended
The Court of Appeal, among its decisions, nullified and set aside the sentence of community service passed on a woman for murder and substituted it with a 24-year jail term. The trial judge, Lady Justice Winfred Nabisinde, on 8th October 2014, while sitting at Lira High Court sentenced Agnes Apio, a resident of Omar B LC1 village, Angwet Angwet parish, Adekokwok sub county in Lira district to 240 hours of community service at Akalo Health Center-Three in Kole district on her own plea of guilt for murdering her husband, James Okoyi. Justice Kenneth Kakuru read the findings of this court, saying that court of appeal considered both the submissions of Apio’s lawyer and the state prosecutor and saw that it would not be necessary for the Directorate of Public Prosecution to appeal in this case, but there is no sentence that cannot be appealed against. He said the sentence of community service is illegal and not provided for anywhere in the law in a case of murder as it attracts a maximum sentence of death. He added that this court, therefore, sets aside the sentence of community service. The court felt like referring this case back to the high court for a fresh sentence, but the case was sentenced five years ago, thus they have to take up their authority to re-sentence this case. Kakuru then said after taking into consideration a number of things including the period she had spent on remand, the court accordingly sentenced Apio to 24 years imprisonment, and ordered that an arrest warrant is issued to Apio to enable her serve her sentence in the face of justice.
Apio on 15th July 2014 caused the death of her husband by hitting him several times on the head, after she had followed him to his new lover’s home, that court realized was a sister to Apio and was HIV positive. Apio is said to have done this in annoyance that she has been infected with HIV/AIDs. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service. End.