By Hillary Nsambu
A 44-year-old ISO operative Lt. William Obote, who murdered his wife nine years ago by shooting, is to spend the rest of his life in prison, the Court of Appeal has confirmed.
“We find that the trial judge elaborately justified the sentence he found appropriate and imposed it on the appellant after due consideration. We find that the trial judge considered both the mitigating and the aggravating factors of the case.
We find no reason to justify our interference with it. We confirm the conviction and the sentence imposed upon the appellant and accordingly dismiss his appeal,” a panel of three justice unanimously ruled on Thursday.
The Coram included justices Remmy Kasule, Richard Buteera and Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza.
The trial court sitting at Lira in April 2009 presided over by Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi ruled that Obote killed his wife Grace Catherine Acan with malice aforethought.
However, Obote made an appeal against the conviction and the sentence of imprisonment for life, faulting the trial judge that he had failed to consider his defense evidence of provocation and his mental state of temporary insanity at that time.
Obote, who was represented by Andrew Ssebuggwawo, had also complained that the trial judge’s sentence against him was manifestly excessive.
But, Senior State Attorney, Martin Rukundo had also strongly defended the trial judge as being justified.
Prosecution had submitted that Obote and Acan had lived as husband and wife and had two children, but their marriage was quite riotous.
By the time of Acan’s death she had left their home and lived with her mother Santa Okello in Adyel Division Lira Municipality Lira District.
On the fateful day, according to the evidence on record, Obote, described as combat intelligence attached to Lira DISO office, first rang Acan and asked her to establish her exact whereabouts.
It was further alleged that following the telephone call, Obote drove his vehicle a Toyota Corolla Reg No 474 UCC to the home of Acan’s mother where he found them (Santa Okello, Acan who was peeling banana and her little sister.
Obote’s mother was also with them in the same compound.
Upon arrival, according to the evidence, Obote demanded to see his wife, Grace. “Mum I want Grace now”. He immediately saw her peeling banana (matooke).
He rushed to his car pulled out a gun, cocked, aimed at her and shot her several times. He dropped the gun and caught a peeling knife and attacked Acan’s mother, Santa Okello, who wrestled him as he tried to stab her.
Obote is said to have extricated himself from his mother-in-law, returned to his vehicle and drove off.