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Assessors ask court to convict MP Godi

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd February 2011 03:00 AM

PROSECUTION led by senior principal attorney Joan Kagezi on Monday made its final submission in a murder case against Arua municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi and asked court to convict him for the gruesome killing of his wife Rehema.

PROSECUTION led by senior principal attorney Joan Kagezi on Monday made its final submission in a murder case against Arua municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi and asked court to convict him for the gruesome killing of his wife Rehema.

By Edward Anyoli, Paddy Nsobya and Patrick Kwesiga

PROSECUTION led by senior principal attorney Joan Kagezi on Monday made its final submission in a murder case against Arua municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi and asked court to convict him for the gruesome killing of his wife Rehema.

Kagezi: Through circumstantial evidence prosecution has shown that the accused is responsible for the death of his wife. Prosecution witnesses Rashida Bizu and Cisse Nassur (deceased sisters) and Hadija Nassur (step mother) and prosecution witness 9 told court that on several occasions the deceased complained that the accused was beating her. The prosecution witness saw the bruises on the face of the deceased.

Kagezi:
Cisse Nassur informed this court that actually she read some of the messages the accused sent to the deceased through the telephone “I will kill you,”.

The conduct of the accused and his attack of the deceased at Nana hostel. The question is why was the accused following the deceased? There was no indication that there was still love between them.

Another issue is the fact that the accused took the police to arrest the deceased and they asked for a passport and the DVD. The fact that the accused failed to explain his actions shows that there was some thing sinister.

That whether the threats were oral and written comments to constitute circumstances of death, evidence of witness Rashida Bizu, Cisse Nassur, Hadija Nassur and witness No. 25 were challenged and found truthful and the inconsistence should be attributed to lapse of time.

Rashida Bizu and Cisse Nassur were very impressive. Bizu was too emotional while giving her evidence and almost shed tears. The fact that the print outs of Cisse Nassur were not submitted to court does not mean that the accused did not call her.

Kagezi:
The gun that was used to kill the deceased belonged to the accused. He acquired seven rounds of ammunitions on December 2, 2008 two days before the murder. The accused went to Arua Police Station to license his gun with five rounds of ammunitions. The accused concealed the two bullets with the intension of using them to do his job.
December 5, 2008, a day after the murder the accused went to the chieftaincy of military intelligence to acquire more ammunition. His plan was not known. It must be noted that three ammunitions were spent on the murder of Rehema; one live ammunition and two cartridges were found at the scene.

Then on December 10, 2008 when the accused was arrested, he had six ammunitions while others were at his home. Why not talk of the five which were licensed. The accused waited for a long time and when the time for executing the mission arrived he went and registered his gun with five ammunitions. The accused carried out the murder and subsequently tried to replace the ammunitions.

Kagezi: The report points out to court that the bullet exhibit No.21 which was found in the body of the deceased was similar to exhibit No. 10 (bullet) which was found at the home of the accused. My submission is that this bullet must have come from the gun the accused had at the time of his arrest.

The ballistic expert in her report on exhibit 21 said the impressions of the bullet were similar to the impressions in the gun. However there was no clear explanation on this due to the chemical reaction and lots of obstruction. This does not mean that this bullet was not fired from this gun.

About the qualification of the ballistic expert, it would have been challenged at the time of presentation of the findings.She is the only Ballistic expert (Robinah Kirinya) we have in uganda. She has testified for about 300 times in courts.

The murder took place in Mukono district on December 4, 2008. The accused was called by the OC CID to report to Old Kampala Police Station but he said he was in Arua yet his phone printouts shows that at 7:16pm he was at Bweyogerere en route to Mukono. Then his phone went off at 8:54pm. The murder is alleged to have taken place between 10:00pm and 11:00pm. My submission is that 59 minutes is enough time for one to drive away from Mukono.

The accused submits that his phone printouts showing that he was in Bweyogerere was because he had gone to Mutungo to visit his uncle. The witness from MTN told this court that the call can indicate the telecommunications mask at a radius of 30 kilometers but can not pick at random because Mutungo and Bweyogerere are far apart.

The accused told prosecution witness 16 James Kyomukama that he had separated with the deceased and was not communicating with her. But Kyomukama asked the accused the telephone numbers 0782008595 and 0776660550 and that evidence was not challenged in court. The accused did not state that the number was for Nassur. Why does he lie about the deceased’s telephone number? He claims to have talked to Nassur but not the deceased.

The telephone number 0714445555 also belonged to the accused. That number called the deceased at 17:52hrs on December 4, 2008 then the deceased called the accused at 18:18hrs on his 0782008595.At 21:38hrs the deceased sent a message to the accused on December 2, 2008 on his 0782008595.

Then in December 3, 2008 the deceased sent a message to the accused at 19:42hrs and the next number that called her is 0714445555 at 20:27hrs. In December 4, 2008 at 12:30pm 0714445555 called the deceased. This corroborates with the evidence of Rashida Bizu and Cisse Nassur that the accused kept on calling them.This shows that the phone is for Rehema and not Nassur and many other messages were sent by the accused to Rehema.

The accused denied his own phone. He at one point said that he wanted to consult his lawyer on whether to accept or not. The deliberate lies by the accused corroborates with the evidence.

Kagezi:
The shoes which were brought to court as exhibits belonged to the accused. The soil which was found on them matched with the one at the scene of crime. One of the shoes of the deceased was found at the edge of the road.Prosecution witness Victor Aisu identified the shoes and said that he marked them and this was not challenged at the time of cross examination. The size of 39 and 42 are still with in the range.

Defense witness No 2 (Habib Adiga) came to this court to tell lies about the shoes. Even he denied his own statement.He also lied about the time the accused told him about his arrival from Arua. He told court that the accused came on December 4, 2008. The accused on December 2, 3, 4, 2008 communicated to the sisters of the deceased many times and he says that he has a cordial relationship with them but after December 4, 2008 he cut off the communication.

The accused could disguise his numbers when calling the sisters of the deceased. He also acquired many lines. The telephone number 0714445555 was for the accused. Why is it that all these numbers went off? From December 5-6th, 2008 the accused introduced Sarah Alesu as his special person to Adiga.

When the killing of his wife became public through the press he called a press conference to clear his name. I pray that this Honourable court finds him guilty of having caused the murder of his wife.

The High Court judge Lawrence Gidudu summed up the case of murder against Arua Municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi and asked the assessors to give their opinion a day after the both the prosecution and defense made their final submissions.

Gidudu: Gentlemen its now time for you to show your relevance in this case. The accused is facing a murder charge contrary to section 188 and 189 of the penal code. The standard of proof of a murder case is beyond reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt the case must be resolved in favour of the accused. The burden to prove him guilty lies with the prosecution; he doesn’t have the burden to prove himself guilty.

You have heard from 30 prosecution witnesses, the gist of their evidence is that when the accused fell out with his wife he became hostile and on December 4, 2008 a man shot her at Lugojja village in Mukono district. The prosecution case is that the man who shot her is the accused. Prosecution case is that the accused yearned to see and talk to the deceased from the time they fell out.

Gidudu:
It’s the prosecution case that after the death of the deceased the accused switched off his phone and changed sim packs. That the soil on his shoes matched with the one at the scene of murder. Its also prosecution’s case that the cartridges and a bullet that was recovered from the body of the deceased matched with the one found at the home of the accused.

The accused denies having killed his wife. He says “I could not kill my darling, I loved her but he acknowledges that the relationship was on the rocks and he was in the process of terminating it.

The accused says that he didn’t see the deceased until December 9, 2008 when his friend Habib Adiga called him that there was a picture of his wife in the Red Paper and the story saying that she had been killed.

The fact that Rehema is dead and buried is not in dispute. There is sufficient evidence that she is dead. This ingredient has been proved. The second ingredient that should be proved is whether the death was unlawful. Again this has also been proved. The deceased was chased and shot by the assailant.

This was homicide. It was not authorized by law. The 3rd ingredient is malice aforethought. Again there is no doubt that the accused was shot three times. In fact when the assailant left and the accused tried to run a way the assailant gave a second chase and shot her in the head, dragged her off the road. The defense has also admitted to that.

The 4th ingredient is participation and this is where I ask you to direct your mind. Who murdered Rehema at Lugojja village? The prosecution said the accused shot her but the says not, he learnt about it through the news paper.

The prosecution case is entirely dependant on circumstantial evidence. What is circumstantial evidence? Events before and after the commission of crime and prosecution says that circumstantial evidence point to the guilt of the accused.

First, the prosecution says the accused and deceased were not happily married. The state says the deceased reported beatings to the step mother and sisters.

The deceased reported threats to her life to her step mother and her sisters. That the accused used to send threatening messages to the deceased which were read by her sisters. The prosecution says this means the accused was ready to do his job.

The prosecution also says that the accused confronted the deceased at Nana hostel. It says his anger was building up and was ready to do the job.

The prosecution’s case is also that the accused made several calls to the sisters of the deceased asking them to ask their sister to pick his calls. That on December 4, 2008 the accused linked up with the deceased and she was never seen alive again.

The prosecution says that meeting was a fulfillment of his agenda to kill her. That he made no more calls to the sisters of the deceased yet he had been a regular caller. That there was no need to call since he had done his job.

The prosecution says the accused became so restless after the incident and didn’t sleep at home. That he declared only five bullets instead of seven. Prosecution says he was prepared for a job to be done.

Prosecution also relies on the evidence of the ballistics expert who said in her report that two bullets were fired from the gun that belonged to the accused.
The prosecution also says that the shoes of the accused had the same soil particles with those at the scene. Prosecution concludes that he is the killer.

Gidudu: This is the defense’s case. The accused loved his wife so much that he could not have killed her. The defense attacks the ballistics expert on the basis of her qualification and handling of guns. That it is useless to take her report.

The defense says the shoes presented in court do not belong to the accused. Its size is 39 yet he wears 42. That the shoes were imposed on him. Adiga says the shoes of the accused had laces but the one brought to court didn’t have.

The print outs don’t show whether the accused reached Mukono. The latest printout show that he was at Bweyogerere and the accused denies having reached Mukono. Therefore he is not responsible for the murder.

The defense says the telephone number 0701131518 was not proved to belong to the accused. In fact the defense says the telephone number belonged Nassur, a Tanzanian not Rehema.

The accused says he slapped his wife once and had no business with her at the time of the incident she had left his home. The defense says there was no positive identification of the vehicle which was allegedly used in the murder. The defense case is that the accused bought the pistol for his personal security and not to kill Rehema. He acquired it with seven bullets and he gave police the seven bullets.

The defense also attacks the evidence of the two sisters of the deceased for telling lies in order to revenge for their sister’s death. In fact defense says some body else who took Rehema out for a dinner could have finished her off. In conclusion the defense says the accused remains a mere suspect and not a guilty party in the case.

Gidudu: I urge you to weigh the evidence of the defense and prosecution. In order to prove a case of murder the facts must be incompatible with the innocence of the accused. There should not be any other evidence, it must produce moral certainty, it should not be a matter of suspicion.

Circumstantial evidence can be the best in criminal cases but must be examined narrowly.
Look at the evidence from prosecution and defense and advise me if I should find the accused guilty or not. I have done my part and its now time to do your job.

After the assessors’ opinion, Justice Gidudu, said : “Iam concerned that the pressure of the assessors’ opinion will operate on your mind to jump bail, can you show cause why your bail should not be cancelled.”

Samali Kayinza who stood in for Godi’s lawyer MacDosman Kabega said, “The accused is innocent until found guilty by the court, assessors’ opinion is not binding.

Secondly the accused is a candidate in an election due to be held on February18, which is less than two weeks from now, detention will deny him valuable time to campaign. He has observed bail terms even before trial. In the premise we humbly pray to extend his bail until judgment is delivered.”

Who is Godi?
Hussein Akbar Godi, 28, was a first-year student at the Kampala International University when he became Arua municipality MP in 2006. He is a member of the Forum for Democratic Change party.

He holds a bachelors degree in Law , according to the posting on the Parliamentary website. Godi who hails from Yumbe district in West Nile sub-region, married Rehema Caesar in December 2007 when she was a secondary school student.

But before their marriage, Rehema’s brother, Nasur Kafu, had filed a defilement case against Godi at the Arua Police Station, saying Rehema was 17 years old. Godi insisted Rehema was 18 years and the case did not take off.

Godi later announced plans to wed Rehema. His in-laws say the marriage was on the rocks soon after because Godi suspected her of infidelity.

In an interview with New Vision at the time of his relationship with Rehema, he defended his action saying; “Time comes when you have to make a decision in your life. I want to marry to end the prejudice against me of being called young.” Godi said.

His colleagues, he said, often referred to him as a “child”.

After Rehema’s murder in December 2008, Godi was a key suspect, but he could not be traced. The then Arua District Police Commander, Julius Salube said Godi called him on a concealed number and told him he had heard about his wife’s murder in Mukono.

The DPC advised him to hand himself over to the Police immediately.

“He claimed to be calling from Kampala although he was sighted in Arua on Monday driving in the town,” Salube said.

Judge: Do you have a joint opinion or separate?

Betty Ojambo:
My lord we have a joint opinion.

Judge:
Who is going to read it?

Ojambo:
I am going read it. This is our opinion my lord.
The accused is charged with murder. Prosecution has to prove the following ingredients beyond reasonable doubt in order to find the accused guilty of the offence of murder.

Death my lord, there is no doubt that Rehema Caesar is dead as both counsel and prosecution confirmed.

Unlawful death, according to evidence my lord, the death of the victim was caused unlawfully by gunshot.

Malice aforethought. The deceased was shot twice whereby one shot was in the head. Prosecution has proved that whoever killed Rehema had malice aforethought.

According to prosecution witness one, Rashida Bizzu (deceased’s sister), the deceased was staying at her parent’s home Martin Road, Old Kampala because they had misunderstanding with the accused (Godi).

She told this court that her sister Rehema told her that the accused could lock her up in his house and beat her which corroborates with the evidence Cisse Nassur (sister) and Hadijja Nassur (stepmother) presented. This confirms what the accused told this court that he only slapped the deceased once.

According to prosecution witness number two Cisse, the relationship became worse in November, 2008 when the accused and his relatives had a meeting with the elders of the deceased and she refused to go back to the accused’s home.

Cisse also told this court that on December 1, 2008, the accused sent Kalida to tell Rehema that he would kill her if she revealed the information about the laptop. According to the two sisters, the information on the laptop was Godi’s activities with rebel leader Joseph Kony.

Also prosecution witness No. 9 Bukenya (security officer at Nana Hostel), told court that somebody who introduced himself s Hon Godi came to Nana Hostel and said he wanted to see Rehema.

According to Bizzu, Cisse and Hadijja, the accused constantly called the deceased and her sisters before December4, 2008, but it is a surprise that the communication did not continue after December 4, 2008 as confirmed from the telephone print outs of both MTN and Warid.

The telephone print out of December 4, 2008 at about 6:12pm and 6:18pm from 0701131518 which is believed to be the deceased’s number called the accused’s number 0782008595 which confirms the accused’s defence when he admitted that the number belonged to the deceased’s friend Nasira and this is the last communication between the accused and deceased.
But also according to the same print outs on December 4, 2008 at 7:16pm, the accused received a call on telephone number 0782008595 while at Bweyogerere, he also made a call at 11:59am while at Nakawa, according to MTN print out, meaning he was along Jinja Road. He confirms that he was coming from his uncle Gen. Bamuze’s in Mutungo.

Ballistics expert ( Robinah Kirinya) told this court that there was gunshot residue detected in the barrel of the gun, however, she could not scientifically tell when the gun was last fired, therefore, this indicates that the gun fired.

She went on to say that exhibit 2 and 3, the spent cartridges recovered from the scene of crime, certainly had been discharged from the exhibit 1(pistol) which belonged to the accused.

According to prosecution witness number 28 Justus Mike Ocom, a forensics expert, the soil sample scooped from the accused’s shoes recovered from his house and soil from the scene of murder was similar.

But in his defence the accused denied the shoes being his because they were of different sizes from his size 39 while the pair presented in court bore size 42. It is not surprising that the shoes the Police said they got from the accused’s home bear similar soil.

The conduct of the accused before, during and after the death. He was violent to the deceased that led to her leaving his house to stay with her stepmother.

He also threatened her and even followed her to her parent’s home taking police officers to arrest her.

Also before the incident, there was constant communication between the accused and the two sisters and the deceased herself but after the night of December 4, 2008, all the communications were cut off till he learnt of Rehema’s death from Habid Adiga and the press. He called his father-in-law and brother-in-law.

It is not surprising that he never bothered to find out anything about the deceased during that period of time from December 4, 2008 and December 9, 2008. This is the mind of a guilty person.

In his defence, the accused deliberately denied his possessions such as a handset and the shoes. He also had a second thought about admitting that the pistol was his. This one is a deliberated action by the accused to confuse court.

We, therefore, find that the prosecution has proved all the four ingredients of murder beyond reasonable doubt.
We, therefore, find the accused person guilty of the offence and advise this honourable court to convict him accordingly.

Justice Gidudu:
I am concerned that the pressure of the assessors’ opinion will operate on your mind to jump bail, can you show cause why your bail should not be cancelled? Counsel, can you respond to that?

Samali Kayinza:
The accused is innocent until found guilty by the court, assessors’ opinion is not binding. Secondly, the accused is a candidate in an election due to be held on February 18, which is less than two weeks from now; detention will deny him valuable time to campaign.

He has observed bail terms even before trial. In the premise we humbly pray to extend his bail until judgment is delivered.

Gidudu: State, what do you say?

Lucy Ladira (State attorney):
I do not have substantial ground for objection, but I pray court to impose stringent terms.

Gidudu:
Given the nature of this case the risk of absconding is much higher. Court will want the accused person when the judgment is going to be delivered. You are remanded until February 11, 2011.

Assessors ask court to convict MP Godi

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