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Court overturns 30-year sentence for a Man Convicted of Murder :: Uganda Radionetwork

Court overturns 30-year sentence for a Man Convicted of Murder

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Norman Turyakira had served thirteen years in jail as he battled against a 30-year jail sentence at the Court of Appeal.
Lady Justice Eva Luswata
A man who was convicted of murder and slapped with a thirty-year jail term is set to walk to freedom after the Court of Appeal ordered his immediate release.

Norman Turyakira had served thirteen years in jail as he battled against his conviction.

He had been tried and found guilty of murdering one Bosco Mujuni in 2012.

The Court of Appeal on Monday decided to overturn Norman Turyakira’s conviction on grounds that evidence adduced by the prosecution was not enough to sustain the conviction.

The unanimous decision by Justices Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, Christopher Gashirabake, and Eva Luswata sets aside the conviction. Norman Turyakira was not physically in court when the ruling was read. He followed the proceedings via Zoom.   

In 2012, Turyakira was found guilty of murdering Bosco Mujuni who died in September 2010 in Rukungiri District.     

Bosco Mujuni who was an employee in one of the bakeries in Rukungiri was found allegedly found lying in a pool of blood while fighting for his life.

He didn’t utter any word according to the evidence in court. While he was being rushed to the hospital, Norman Turyakira was arrested and taken to Rukungiri police station as a prime suspect.

While Bosco Mujuni was then taken to hospital, other workers of the bakery were called  to Turyakira whom they took to Rukungiri police station.  

Bosco Mujuni died twelve days after being treated at two different hospitals. The first Prosecution witness had told the court that he found Turyakira in a house that he shared with the deceased. 

Turyakira reportedly remained quiet when asked about what could have happened to Bosco Mujuni. 

The witness said Turyakira was instead seen grinding his teeth as if is in great anger.   

Turyakira was eventually charged, tried, and convicted by High Court Judge Joseph Murangira and sentenced to thirty years in jail for murder.

Dissatisfied with the conviction and subsequent sentence, Turyakira in 2013. 

He argued that the trial Judge erred in law and fact when he failed to adequately evaluate the evidence on record and thus convicted him on unsatisfactory circumstantial and hearsay evidence thus causing a miscarriage of justice.

He also added that the sentence handed to him was harsh and excessive since the trial Judge didn’t consider the time he had spent on remand while handing him a 30-year jail term.

The prosecution had asked the Court to dismiss the appeal saying that although there were inconsistencies and contradictions in their witnesses, they were minor, inconsequential, and had no bearing on the case.  

In their ruling, the Court said that the behavior of Turyakira after the said crime coupled with inconsistencies of the Prosecution witnesses who said that the deceased while dying said he had been killed by him, didn’t show that he was a guilty man.  

The judges observed that police arrested Turyakira from his house while he was sleeping late at night at 3 a.m. and there was no way someone would remain in bed after killing a roommate.

  “We therefore find that the evidence that was used by the trial Judge to convict the appellant was hearsay evidence that was uncorroborated. It should not have been admitted on the record or found sufficient to convict the appellant/Turyakira.”, said the Justices.

They have added that the Prosecution also failed to bring an eye witness who would have also helped in the collaboration of evidence in the case.

“In conclusion, although we have discounted the contradictions as inconsequential, it is our decision that the prosecution case had serious doubts and we are under duty to resolve those in favor of the appellant/Turyakira. We are in agreement with counsel for the appellant that the evidence that was relied on to convict the appellant was weak circumstantial and hearsay evidence. It was not strong enough to sustain a conviction”, said the Justices. The decision by the court ends a 10-year period of waiting by Norman Turyakira who believes that he was wrongfully convicted.

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