Hon. Justice Gaswaga noted the remorsefulness of the convicts and their promise to become better people. However, he sentenced the man and the woman to 14 and 8 years respectively, as theirs are serious offenses that were committed on children.
Lira High Court has sentenced a 32-year-old man to 14 years in prison for aggravated defilement.
Francis Ouni, who was a resident of Akitenino village in the current Lira City West Division defiled a 12-year-old child residing in the same area. Ouni was convicted and sentenced on his own plea of guilty by Hon. Justice Duncan Gaswaga, the Lira Resident judge.
Court learnt that on 29th October 2019, the convict lured the victim to his house from where he sexually abused her. The victim’s mother caught the convict red-handed abusing her daughter but he became violent and threatened to harm her before running away. However, he was later traced, arrested, and charged with aggravated defilement.
While appearing in court on Tuesday, Ouni apologized to the family of the victim and promised not to repeat the offense saying his life has genuinely changed.
State prosecutor Peter Opio Amalo told the court that the offense committed was serious and attracts death as a maximum sentence and that the victim who was too young is fit to be a granddaughter to the convict.
“This child was too young and the convict had the responsibility of protecting her but he instead used her vulnerability and defiled her," He prayed. "My Lord I pray for a deterrent sentence which will stop others from doing the same.”
But Herbert Walusimbi, the defense counsel argued that the convict is a first-time offender who has not wasted courts time by pleading guilty and that a convict is a family man whose mother died of cancer. He prayed for leniency so that he can go back and take care of his family.
Hon. Justice Gaswaga noted the remorsefulness of the convict and his promise to become a better person. However, he sentenced him to 14 years in prison on grounds that this is a serious offense that was committed on a child.
“Being an adult, the convict would have offered protection to the child instead of putting the child’s life in danger thus setting a bad example and in these circumstances therefore I find a sentence of 14 years sufficient and accordingly I sentenced you to 14 years.”
Meanwhile, the same court has also sentenced a 24-year-old woman to 8 years in prison for aggravated defilement.
Stella Apio, a resident of Ireda East Cell, Boke- Agali in Lira City East division appeared before Hon. Justice Duncan Gaswaga, the high court judge from where she pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced for the crime.
In March 2021, Apio who was 23 years- old and a mother of twins started having a sexual relationship with the victim who was only 17 years by then.
The affair continued until April 2021 when the victim started experiencing difficulty and pain while passing urine, something which forced him to inform his guardian about the affair with Apio.
Court further learnt that when both Apio and victim were subjected to medical tests, Apio tested positive for both HIV and gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted Disease which she passed on to the victim through the unprotected sexual intercourse they had been having. The STD caused the pain the victim was experiencing when urinating.
While in court, Apio prayed for lenience from the court saying her HIV positive twins are living on their own at home without medication since their father died before they were born.
“What I did is very wrong yet I cannot change that now but what I can promise is that I am a reformed person. I also want court to know that my 3-year-old twins are HIV positive and I am the one who used to pick for them medication from the health center so I pray that this court gives me a short sentence so that I can go back home and take care of them.”
However, Justice Gaswaga, sentenced her to 8 years in prison on grounds that the convict's action will leave the victim traumatized for the rest of his life and that children needs to be protected from such people.
“Young men, not only the girls but also the young men need to be protected from people like this convict. Although the young men tested HIV negative, the fact that he is young and had sexual intercourse with you will leave him traumatized for the rest of his life."
He also ordered that the 10 months spent on remand should be considered as part of the sentenced.