Court name
High Court of Uganda
Judgment date
29 March 2000

Uganda v Nabakooza Maulisio (Criminal Session Case-2000/27) [2000] UGHC 14 (29 March 2000);

Cite this case
[2000] UGHC 14
Short summary:
Criminal law, Evidence Law, Witness Testimony

 

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA
AT THE SESSION HOLDEN AT MUBENDE
CRIMINAL SESSION CASE NO. 27 OF 2000
UGANDA
: : : : : :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: : : : PROSECUTOR
VERSUS
 NABAKOOZA MAULISIO : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : ACCUSED
 

BEFORE: THE HONOURABLE MR. AG. JUSTICE PAUL K. MUGAMBA JUDGMENT
The accused NABAKOOZA MAULISIO was indicted for murder C/SS 183 and 184 of the Penal Code Act. The prosecution called four witnesses namely Yowana Rwigira (P.W.l), No. 25365 D/C Lajuru (P.W.2), Aloysius Zziwa (P.W.3) and John Rwekibira (P.W.4). The accused in his defence made an unsworn statement and called no witnesses.

Briefly the case for the prosecution is as follows. On the night of 10th July 1998 while accused and deceased slept in their house deceased sustained cut wounds at the hands of the accused. When deceased was cut she ran to a nearby house belonging to PW3 but when she received no assistance there she ran to the house of PW1 the father of both accused and herself. Deceased was injured and told PW1 that she had been cut by accused. Accused denied responsibility. PW1 took both accused and deceased to the home of PW4 the L.C.l Chairman. Once again deceased said that accused had been responsible for inflicting the cut wounds on her. Accused denied the allegations once more. Later on the L.C.l Chairman arrested accused and referred both accused and deceased to Police. Police re-arrested accused and sent deceased to Mityana Hospital. Eventually deceased died on 11th July 1998 hence the indictment.

The accused at every opportunity has denied ever being the one who inflicted the fatal injuries on the deceased.

In order to successfully prosecute a case of murder the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following ingredients of the offence:

(a) that the deceased was killed;
(b) that the killing was unlawful;
(c) that the killing was with malice aforethought; and
(d) that it was the accused who committed the offence.

The defence did not contest the first three ingredients above. What was contested was the identity of the killer of the deceased.

The prosecution did prove the first ingredient beyond reasonable doubt. A medical certificate of death was tendered in evidence as exhibit PW1. The certificate showed a female called Nakate had died at Mityana Hospital on 11th July 1998. P.W.1 the father of the girl also testified that his daughter Nakate had died on 11th July 1998.
The second ingredient is of whether the killing was unlawful. It is presumed that where a person is killed his or her death is murder unless such death was brought about in circumstances which show that it was accidental, that it occurred in the process of self defence, defence of another, defence of property or in execution of a lawful sentence. Any other killing is unlawful. The case of Rex vs. Gusambizi s/o Wesonga (1948) 15 EACA 65 refers. Since the death of the deceased did not fall under the categories mentioned it was unlawful.

The third ingredient is that of malice aforethought. The law defines malice aforethought as an intention to kill or knowledge that the act or omission causing death will probably cause the death of some person. Section 186 of the Penal Code Act is articulate on this. Malice aforethought is also patent from the following:

(i) the nature of weapon used in causing death
(ii) the number of injuries inflicted on victim
(iii) the part of the body where such injury was inflicted
(iv) the conduct of the killer before and after death.

The case of Rex vs. Tubere s/o Ochen (1945) 12 EACA 63 is of relevance here.

 Iam satisfied that given the facts of the case at hand, when related to the pre-requisites for malice aforethought, the killing was done with malice aforethought.

It now remains to determine whether it was the accused who killed the deceased. The prosecution adduced the evidence of PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4 all of whom stated that on separate occasions the deceased told them that it was the accused who had inflicted cut wounds on her. Section 30(a) of the Evidence Act allows for statements such as one made by the deceased to be relevant. The witnesses were consistent. However, I have warned myself as indeed I warned the gentlemen assessors of the danger of convicting on evidence from a single source, namely Nakate, the deceased. She could have been mistaken. The prosecution did not give satisfactory evidence concerning the conditions for identification. As it was night there is no evidence whether any light was available in the room or how the deceased came to perceive that it was accused who had cut her with a panga. Prosecution evidence did not rule out the possibility of another person or other persons coming into the room and cutting the deceased. It. would have been helpful if that aspect of evidence had been highlighted by the prosecution. What is required is some other evidence to corroborate