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Sheikh Kamoga, co-accused to face assessors

By Farooq Kasule

Added 11th July 2017 08:58 AM

Court assessors are usually non-lawyers who sit together with a judge or judges to advise court in assessment of cases.

Sheikh Kamoga, co-accused to face assessors

Court assessors are usually non-lawyers who sit together with a judge or judges to advise court in assessment of cases.

PIC: Muslim cleric murder suspects arriving at the High Court in Kampala on July 6, 2017. (Credit: Nancy Nanyonga)

COURT | CLERIC MURDERS


KAMPALA - Court assessors are Tuesday expected to give their opinion on whether or not to convict Tabliq leader Amir Ummah Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga and his 13 co-accused who have been on trial for close to three years over terrorism and complicity in the murder of prominent sheikhs in the country.

Procedurally in criminal trial, court assessors give their opinion before the presiding judge or judges make their final judgment. 

Court assessors are usually non-lawyers who sit together with a judge or judges to advise court in assessment of cases.

Last week, three judges presiding over the matter Ezekiel Muhanguzi (chair), Jane Kiggundu and Percy Night Tuhaise summed up the case for the assessors in order for them to form their opinion. 

"This is for you assessors, you are required to find evidence convincing you  that the prosecution has proved each of the essential ingredients of the offences against each of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt even where the prosecution and the defence agreed on them," the court advised.

The assessors are Mahamed Ddumba, Robert Sseguya Lubega and Judith Muhairwe.

Summing up on the murder charge, the court urged the assessors to carefully observe the corroboration of evidence especially when the murder of Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya happened when the accused persons were in prison on remand and no eyewitnesses who could identify the murderers.

The court emphasised to the assessors that not only the person who actually does the act that may be charged for an offence, but also those who encourage, incite, procure, aid and abet others to commit an offence can be charged as principal offenders and be punished for the offence.

The assessors were told that although the accused people opted to remain silent, the burden of proof still remains majorly with the prosecution and it does not shift, except in a few statutory cases.

While forming their opinion, assessors are expected to find out whether the accused are principal offenders and had a common intention to commit the offences against them.

They are also expected to form an opinion on whether the accused committed the offences indiscriminately and without due regard to the safety of others and property.

Court urged the assessors to consider whether the acts of the accused persons were for intimidating the public for social, economic, political and religious purposes.

The suspects have been on remand since January 2015.

Prosecution alleges that between December 2014 and June 2015, the accused, with others still at large, conspired premeditatedly to murder Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga and Hassan Kirya.

It was further alleged that the accused attempted or attacked Prince Kassim Nakibinge, Mahmoud Kibaate, Najib Ssonko, Swidiq Ndaula, and Haruna Jjemba.

Accused persons:

Sheikh Siraje Kawooya, Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga, Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, Sheikh Fahad Kalungi, Amir Kinene, Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Yusuf Kakande, Sheikh Abdulsalam Sekayanja, Abdulhamid Mubiru Sematimba, Hamza Kasirye, Twaha Ssekitto, Rashid Jjingo, Musa Issa Mubiru and George William Iga.

 

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