Supreme Court upholds death sentences for 82-year old, four others

The Supreme court has dismissed an appeal by Clement Wandubire 82, who was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of three people including two Police Officers and a Civilian old man.

Prosecution alleged that on September 21, 1998, while at his home in Kimaruli Village, Bugobero Subcounty in Mbale District, Wandubire shot and hacked to death the then Officer in Charge of Bugobero Police Post, SGT Etuket, Police Constable Ojok and another civilian John Musunga to death following a land wrangle.

According to Prosecution, Wandubire bought land which was subject of a conflict, which ended up in court, with the judge ruling in favour of the deceased John Musunga.

In top of the court battle, Musunga had also reported a case of malicious damage to property against Wandubire and on the fateful day at 6Am, the trio had come to effect the court orders, that would oversee the eviction and arrest of Wandubire.

Upon arrival, Wandubire was asked to get out but he refused, prompting Police to try access the property with through forceful entry by breaking of Wandubire’s house door, but upon entry, Wandubire who was armed with a panga cut the Police Officer, disarmed him and shot him and proceeded out and shot the other Police Officer and John Musunga.

After the deadly attack, Wandubire and his son tried to escape but a mob pounced on them and killed his son and Wandubire was saved by Police who arrested him and indicted him for murder of three people.

High Court in Mbale convicted Wandubire on all the three counts on 20th/January/2003 and sentenced him to suffer death. However, he was unsatisfied with the court ruling and appealed the High court decision in the Court of Appeal challenging the legality of the sentence; reasoning that the lower court did not take into consideration that he was a first offender and was of advanced age.

However the Court of Appeal on 21st/August/2017 confirmed his sentence, but he wasn’t deterred by his quest for freedom and proceeded to Supreme Court where the panel of 5 Justices of the Supreme court led by Justice Dr. Esther Kisaakye also upheld Wandubire’s death sentence saying although he was a first offender, and a person of advanced age, the circumstances under which he murdered the victims justify the death sentence as mantained by the lower courts.

They added that the circumstances of this case fell squarely within the ambits of the rarest of the rare cases and therefore find no merit in his appeal and ordered to have Wandubire returned to Luzira prison and wait for the hangman to execute his final punishment.

In a related Development, the Supreme Court has also confirmed the death sentence of four people from Kamuli District, who are accused of disarming Police and lynched to death, four people suspected of poisoning Paul Kigoli.

The State alleged that on the morning of 19th October 2000 the body of Paul Kigoli was found by the roadside, near the home of one Eseza Namusobya, a local potent gin seller.

In the previous evening , late Kigoli had been drinking in the company of Mawulira Fred, Mubezi Moses and Swaga David and when the death of Paul Kigoli was reported to the Local authoroties, Namusobya was arrested alongside Mawulira, Mubezi and Swaga as suspects and locked them up in the cells at Gadumire Local Administration Police Post.

However, Kyabire Patrick, Abdu Mpiira, Maganda David and Kabuze Moses led a mob of angry residents who raided the Police post, overpowered the officers on duty and forcefully removed the four suspected from the cells.

They then took Namusobya to her hut, locked her inside, set it ablaze from outside and burnt her to ashes. After that, they hucked each of the other three suspects to death and burnt their bodies as well.

After the gruesome attacks, Kyabire, Mpiira, Maganda and Kabuze were arrested and charged with four counts of murder; and on 24th/June/2002 were sentenced to suffer death by the High court in Jinja.

They then appealed to the Court of Appeal reasoning that the sentence was harsh and excessive but their appeal was dismissed and now 5 Justices of the Supreme court led by Justice Dr. Esther Kisaakye have also dismissed their claim that the offence was committed by way of mob justice.

They ruled that the four appellants were properly identified as the culprits who had participated in this heinous crime with the common intention of killing the deceased persons. That the deceased were tortured and killed under the watchful eyes of the community since it was broad daylight. This was very traumatising on the community especially for one of their mothers who fainted when she saw the appellants actually burning her son to death.

The Justices therefore mantained that they were intotal agreement with the Court of Appeal that the gravity of the offence in this appeal justifies the imposition of the maximum sentence on the appellants.

They then dismissed the appeal and upheld the death sentence on each of the appellants.

Supreme court’s Acting Registrar Lawrence Tweyanze read the judgement on behalf of their Lordships at Buganda road court via Video Conferencing where the four convicts also appeared and received their judgement.

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