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Court of Appeal Upholds Kasiwukira's Widow Acquittal

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Nabikolo was initially charged with murder following the death of her husband, who was knocked dead by a speeding motor vehicle while jogging near his home in Muyenga in October 2014. The prosecution had maintained that the accident that claimed Kasiwukira’s life was planned by Nabikolo, her cousin Sandra Nakkungu and Ashraf Jaden, a police officer formerly attached to Muyenga police post.
15 Jul 2019 13:36
Sarah Nabikolo in a Checked Dress at the Court of Appeal in Kampala
The Court of Appeal has upheld the acquittal of Sarah Nabikolo, a widow to businessman Eriya Ssebunnya Bugembe also known as Kasiwukira. 

Nabikolo was initially charged with murder following the death of her husband, who was knocked dead by a speeding motor vehicle while jogging near his home in Muyenga in October 2014. The prosecution had maintained that the accident that claimed Kasiwukira’s life was planned by Nabikolo, her cousin Sandra Nakkungu and Ashraf Jaden, a police officer formerly attached to Muyenga police post.  

But she was acquitted by the High Court on grounds that prosecution did not produce enough evidence implicating her for playing any role in the crime. But the court presided over by Justice Wilson Masalu convicted her sister Sandra Nakkungu and the police officer, Jaden Ashraf. 

The judge said that Kasiwukira, a member of Kwagalana group, died a malicious death, disguised as an accident. He noted that Nakkungu and Jaden had a common intention to kill Kasiwukira, a plot which Nabikolo was not involved in. The convicts were each jailed for 20 years. 

However, the DPP said that the acquittal was erroneous and challenged it, riding on a strained marital relationship between Nabikolo and Kasiwukira prior to his death. The Prosecution said that the relationship presented evidence of Nabikolo’s motive to eliminate the husband, which the trial judge failed to judiciously scrutinize. 

The prosecution further faulted justice Musene for failing to adequately appraise the evidence in relation to the doctrine of common intention which resulted in gross miscarriage of justice.  The doctrine of common intention states that if several people act together to achieve a common goal, whatever is done in law is done by all. 

But a panel of three Court of Appeal Judges today maintained that the testimonies presented in the courts do not show that that Nabikolo participated in a ploy to end her husband’s life. In one of the testimonies, John Ggayi Bugembe, a brother to the deceased, told the court that the marital issues between his brother and Nabikolo had been resolved and that the couple lived happily again at the time of the accident.

The court further based its decision on a voice recording, which makes no mention of Nabikolo’s name among the plotters of the killing, but refers to the person as Madam.  The judgement, read by Court of Appeal Registrar Jesse Byaruhanga this morning, is endorsed by justices Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi.

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