By Hillary Nsambu
The Court of Appeal has told a defiler, John Kapalaga, to consider himself lucky for having been sentenced to only 18 years imprisonment for defiling a-five-year-old minor, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of death.
“You should consider yourself lucky to see that the trial judge gave you only 18 years imprisonment, considering that the offence calls for a maximum sentence of death under the circumstances.
The trial judge gave convincing justification for the sentence of 18 years imprisonment, which is not manifestly excessive, harsh or mistaken in law to call for our interference,” the court ruled.
The court was dismissing Kapalaga’s criminal appeal in which he had sought to have the sentence reduced, complaining that it was severe; considering that he has a-six-year-old child to look after.
Justices Remmy Kasule, Richard Buteera and Professor Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza, presided over the appeal.
The trial judge, Albert Rugadya Atwoki, who tried Kapalaga at the High Court sitting at Kasese in 2006 said that the accused did not deserve mercy.
The prosecution told the court that Kapalaga, in his early forties, was a houseboy in the home of his victim at Kyarugomoka village, Kasese District. On the day he committed the offence in April 2005, he had enticed the young girl to accompany him to the river that is about 100 metres away, to collect some water.
However, after about 30 minute the mother heard her daughter crying, prompting her to rush to where she was. Upon arrival at the scene in a bush nearby, she found the accused shamelessly having carnal knowledge of the minor.
Although Kapalaga disappeared from the home where he was employed, he was arrested the next day and was charged with the offence of aggravated defilement.