The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has said that it may not consider the demands by the family of late Betty Donah Katushabe to exonerate jailed former Central Police Station boss, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Aaron Baguma of murder charges.
Speaking to New Vision, the Directorate’s spokesperson Jane Kajuga acknowledged receipt of the letter from the family requesting that the charges against Baguma be dropped. She said criminal justice is not driven by the victims.
"It is true that we received the letter from the family. But in criminal proceedings we do not only consider the victims interests but also those of the society members. We are supposed to ensure that justice prevails." Kajuga stated.
In a letter dated 17 August, 2016, the family wrote to the DPP for the charges against Baguma to be dropped. They argued that he had helped them in getting witnesses and arresting key suspects in the matter.
On Tuesday the family led by Alex Masereka in a media briefing held at Christ the King in Kampala told journalists that the letter was just an opinion to the DPP since Baguma had not been arrested by then to disregard him and trial starts in pursuit for quicker justice.
"It was just an opinion but the DPP is free to maintain the murder charges against him (Baguma). It is the DPP to decide and we cannot tell him what to do. The law should take its course in this matter now that he has been arrested," Masereka said.
Masereka said that their worry was the diversionary approach the case had taken that saw Baguma come into limelight more than his co-accused and Pine Car Bond proprietor Muhammad Ssebuwufu whom they considered to be the prime suspect in the matter.
"This is a criminal matter handled by the state but our case was that if the DPP could find it within his powers to drop the charges against Baguma because of the circumstances surrounding the matter. If he doesn't then we have no problem with it" he said.
"Despite being ordinary people in as far legal issues are concerned, we were left wondering whether without Baguma the case would never kick- off" Masereka added.
Others accused are Godfrey Kayiza, Philip Mirambo, Stephen Lwanga, and Paul Tasingika, Yoweri Kitayimbwa, Damaseni Ssentongo and Shaban Oduttu, 22, alias Golola.
Asked whether it was by coincidence that after writing their opinion letter to the DPP, Baguma handed himself in court for charge, Masereka said they had written the letter two weeks ago and had no knowledge of Baguma’s whereabouts.
It should be noted that it was the same family that had recently also petitioned the DPP to ensure that Baguma is brought to book over his alleged involvement in the murder.
Meanwhile Ssebuwufu has applied for bail for the second time seeking to be temporarily released to seek further treatment. He is allegedly suffering from epilepsy.
Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large on 21st October, 2015 at Pine Car Bond on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala, killed Katushabe.
According to court documents, Baguma in company of three other officers are alleged to have visited Pine Car Depot where they allegedly witnessed the torture of Katushabe and also ordered the deceased to pay sh9m debt instead of rescuing her.
The indictment further states that the deceased pleaded with Baguma to take her to police because Ssebuwufu and his colleagues were determined to kill her but all in vain.
The offence of murder and aggravated robbery carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on conviction.
The case stems from a Toyota Premio which Ssebuwufu had sold to the deceased at sh19m but she paid part of the money and there remained a balance of sh9m, which she had promised to pay at a later date.
However, following the delay in the payment, Ssebuwufu and his co-accused allegedly picked her from her residence at Bwebajja off Entebbe Road and illegally detained her at Pine where they allegedly tortured her to death.