THE appeal bid by Thomas Nkulungira alias Tonku to reverse his death sentence and conviction for the murder of his girlfriend Brenda Karamuzi, starts today
By Andante Okanya
THE appeal bid by Thomas Nkurungira alias Tonku to reverse his death sentence and conviction for the murder of his girlfriend Brenda Karamuzi, starts today at the Court of Appeal in Kampala.
A panel of three Justices; Augustine Nshimye, Eldad Mwangusya, and Kenneth Kakuru, is scheduled to hear submissions from Tonku's lawyers Benson Tusasirwe and Johnny Patrick Barenzi.
Senior principal state attorney Jane Kajuga will counter Tonku's legal team submissions.
On August 13, 2011, High Court judge Justice Albert Rugadya-Atwooki, handed Tonku a death sentence.
During trial, state prosecution led by the now deceased Joan Kagezi, adduced evidence that Brenda Karamuzi was murdered in 2010 between January 21 and January 30 at Kijjwa zone-Bukasa in the Kampala suburb of Muyenga near Makindye.
A fumigator discovered her decomposing body in the septic tank of Tonku's house on January 30, 2010.
Prosecution claimed Tonku murdered Brenda after she rejected his advances for a relationship, and trapped her by claiming he would connect her for a job placement.
Brenda Karamuzi whose body was found in a septic tank at Tonku's home.
A total of 17 prosecution witnesses testified in the case, including the deceased's mother Joy Karamuzi, who narrated that she last saw her daughter alive on January 20.
Prosecution also produced other witnesses including police officers who investigated the case, and found blood stains on some walls of the house which connected to the deceased.
Also a post-mortem report on the deceased confirmed that she was brutally murdered with six stab wounds on both her neck and face.
In her testimony, Tonku's co-accused's girlfriend Joan Nakiira placed Tonku at the crime scene. She said she saw the deceased at Tonku's house prior to her disappearance.
Tonku's co-accused Fred Ssempijja, his shamba boy, did not produce any witnesses.
He defended himself, saying he found the deceased already dead but only helped carry the body to the septic tank, which was eventually dumped by Tonku.
Ssempijja was acquitted of murder but handed a five-year jail term for being an accomplice to the crime.
But in his defence, Tonku pressed court to set him free on the basis of his evidence of alibi (absence from the scene of crime). He maintained that he was with friends at the time, as they made funeral arrangements for a close friend Erias Kagimu who had passed away in America.
Tonku produced five defence witnesses. Four of them, who were his friends, defended him, saying they were at various pubs and at Kagimu's vigil at time of the alleged murder.
His lawyer Johnny Patrick Barenzi submitted that prosecution had failed to adduce evidence placing him at the murder scene. One of Tonku's lawyers Ezekiel Nsubuga Mubiru officially withdrew on June 29, 2011, citing threats to his life.
"The defence witnesses were consistent and did not contradict themselves and they accounted for the whereabouts of Tonku at all material times," Barenzi submitted.
Barenzi added that Tonku did not sleep slept at home on January 28 and 29, as he was avoiding a confrontation with his landlord over rent arrears of sh3m.
The death sentence question has been settled by the Supreme Court on account of the landmark Susan Kigula case. It is not mandatory but is left to the discretion of the trial judge.
Tonku appeal bid starts