Court name
HC: Criminal Division (Uganda)
Judgment date
10 January 2018

Uganda v Edema (Criminal Case-2016/) [2018] UGHCCRD 11 (10 January 2018);

Cite this case
[2018] UGHCCRD 11
Short summary:

Criminal law

Coram
Mubiru, J

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA SITTING AT ARUA

CRIMINAL CASE No. 0038 OF 2016

 

UGANDA      ….….……………….….…….….….….….…..…………….… PROSECUTOR

 

  1.  

 

     

EDEMA VICTOR    …….…….….……………..………………….………………  ACCUSED

 

Before: Hon Justice Stephen Mubiru.

 

SENTENCE AND REASONS FOR SENTENCE

 

This case came up on 10th January 2018, in a special session for plea bargaining. The accused was indicted with the offence of Aggravated Defilement c/s 129 (3) and 4 (a) of The Penal Code Act. It was alleged that on 18th January 2014 at Enzeva village in Arua District, the accused performed an unlawful sexual act with Avako Gloria, a girl below the age of 14 years.

 

When the case was called, the learned Resident State Attorney, Mr. Emmanuel Pirimba reported that he had successfully negotiated a plea bargain with the accused and his counsel. The court then invited the State Attorney to introduce the plea agreement and obtained confirmation of this fact from defence counsel on state brief, Mr. Ronald Onencan. The court then went ahead to ascertain that the accused had full understanding of what a guilty plea means and its consequences, the voluntariness of the accused’s consent to the bargain and appreciation of its implication in terms of waiver of the constitutional rights specified in the first section of the plea agreement. The Court being satisfied that there was a factual basis for the plea, and having made the finding that the accused made a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent plea bargain, and after he had executed a confirmation of the agreement, went ahead to receive the agreement to form part of the record. The accused was then allowed to take plea whereupon a plea of guilty was entered.

 

The court then invited the learned Resident State Attorney to narrate the factual basis for the guilty plea, whereupon she narrated the following facts; on 17th January 2014 at about 9.00 pm the victim went to a disco dance at a nearby trading centre. At 3.00 pm felt tired and decided to go back home. He was escorted by two boys who left her near her home. Shortly after they had left, the accused emerged from the bush, held her hand and pulled her back to the bush. She made an alarm. In the bush he tore her underpants and had sexual intercourse with her. The two boys heard it and returned to rescue her but the accused threatened them. The young boys ran and informed adults as to what was happening. A one Eloli Bosco ran to the scene and when the accused saw him he took off leaving his pairs of trousers, a pair of shoes and a packet of condoms. He was clearly seen because there was bright moonlight. He was reported but went into hiding. He was arrested in January 2016. The victim was examined and found to be twelve years old. She was bleeding and her vagina was swollen. This was done at Vurra Health Centre III on 11th January, 2014. He was examined on 2nd January 2016. He was found to be about 20 years ole and of normal mental status. The accused was examined on P.F 24A. Both police forms 24 and P.F 3A were tendered as part of the facts.

 

Upon ascertaining from the accused that the facts as stated were correct, he was convicted on his own plea of guilty for the offence of Aggravated Defilement c/s 129 (3) and 4 (a) of The Penal Code Act. In justification of the sentence of five (5) years’ imprisonment proposed in the plea agreement, the learned State Attorney adopted the aggravating factors outlined in the plea agreement. The learned defence counsel adopted the mitigating factors outlined in the plea agreement too. In his allocutus, the convict had nothing to add to what was stated in the plea agreement.

 

I have reviewed the proposed sentence of five years’ imprisonment in light of The Constitution (Sentencing Guidelines for Courts of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, 2013. I have also reviewed current sentencing practices for offences of this nature. In this regard, I have considered the case of Agaba Job v. Uganda C.A. Cr. Appeal No. 230 of 2003 where the court of appeal in its judgment of 8th February 2006 upheld a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment in respect of an appellant who was convicted on his own plea of guilty upon an indictment of defilement of a six year old girl. In the case of Lubanga v. Uganda C.A. Cr. Appeal No. 124 of 2009, in its judgment of 1st April 2014, the court of appeal upheld a 15 year term of imprisonment for a convict who had pleaded guilty to an indictment of aggravated defilement of a one year old girl. In another case, Abot Richard v. Uganda C.A. Crim. Appeal No. 190 of 2004, in its judgment of 6th February 2006, the Court of Appeal upheld a sentence of 8 years’ imprisonment for an appellant who was convicted of the offence defilement of a 13 year old girl but had spent three years on remand before sentence. In Lukwago v. Uganda C.A. Crim. Appeal No. 36 of 2010 the Court of appeal in its judgment of 6th July 2014 upheld a sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment for an appellant convicted on his own plea of guilty for the offence of aggravated defilement of a thirteen year old girl. Lastly, Ongodia Elungat John Michael v. Uganda C.A. Cr. Appeal No. 06 of 2002 where a sentence 5 years’ imprisonment was meted out to 29 year old accused, who had spent two years on remand, for defiling and impregnating a fifteen year old school girl.

 

The aggravating factors in this case are that; the offence is punishable by death, it is rampant in the region, the victim was ravished in her parents' home, and she was only 12 years old while the accused was 21 years old. The offence is rampant and was committed after abduction of the victim. On the other hand, the mitigating factors are that; the accused is a first offender, remorseful; he has readily pleaded guilty and is a relatively young man capable of reform. He is sickly and suffers from hepatitis B. Having considered the sentencing guidelines and the current sentencing practice in relation to offences of this nature, and the fact that the convict has already spent one year and eight months on remand, I hereby accept the submitted plea agreement entered into by the accused, his counsel, and the State Attorney and in accordance thereto, sentence the accused to a term of imprisonment of five (5) years, to be served starting today.

 

Having been convicted and sentenced on his own plea of guilty, the convict is advised that he has a right of appeal against the legality and severity of this sentence, within a period of fourteen days.

 

Dated at Arua this 10th day of January, 2018             …………………………………..

                                                                                                Stephen Mubiru

                                                                                                Judge,

                                                                                                10th January, 2018.