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Monday,September 28,2020 03:11 AM

Pine murder verdict delayed again

By Farooq Kasule

Added 17th June 2019 09:09 AM

City car dealer Muhammad Ssebuwufu is battling murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery charges, alongside other co-accused.

Pine murder verdict delayed again

City car dealer Muhammad Ssebuwufu is battling murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery charges, alongside other co-accused.

COURT

KAMPALA -  On Monday, the High Court was expected to deliver its verdict in the murder case against city car dealer Muhammad Ssebuwufu. But it emerged that judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga, who was set to deliver the judgement, is reportedly sick.

The court registrar, Thidius Tumwebaze, deferred the delivery of the verdict to June 24 - next Monday.

This is the second time that the judgement is delayed. Initially, judge Ssenoga was supposed to deliver the verdict on May 29 but pushed it to today June 17, saying it was not yet ready at the time

Ssebuwufu and seven others are accused of beating to death businesswoman Betty Donah Katusabe in 2015 over a sh9m car debt.

Katusabe was allegedly tortured to death by the accused on October 21, 2015 at Pine Car Bond on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.

Court records indicate that Katusabe bought a Toyota Premio of registration number UAX 481H from Ssebuwufu at sh17m and remitted sh8m, thereby remaining with a balance of sh9m debt which is said to have caused her murder.

Ssebuwufu is battling murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery charges alongside Paul Tasingika, Shaban Odutu alias Golola, Philip Mirambe, Kayiza Godfrey, Stephen Lwanga, Yoweri Kitayimbwa and Damaseni Ssentongo.

Each of the three charges against the accused attracts a maximum sentence of death on conviction.

Initially, they were battling the charges together with former Kampala Central Police Station commander, Aaron Baguma, but Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) justice Mike Chibita dropped the charges against him (Baguma) at the commencement of the trial last year without advancing any reason to that effect.

On April 29, court assessors Rehema Babirye, Betty Bogere and Joseph Wasibi advised the judge to acquit all the accused persons on grounds that prosecution had failed to prove the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt.

A court assessor is a lay person (not a lawyer) who is appointed by court to sit and listen to criminal cases at High Court level and advise a trial judge on whether to convict or acquit an accused person basing on evidence submitted in court by the prosecution.

However, an assessor's opinion is not legally binding on the judge to adopt it.

The prosecution led by Assistant DPP Alex Micheal Ojok produced in court 26 witnesses to pin the accused.

Ssebuwufu contends that although he sold the car to the victim with an outstanding balance, he had already secured it through a cheque and that had no reason to hunt for her.

Co-accused Tasingika says that he was hired by Sam Kiwanuka to pick Katusabe from Bwebajja in the company of police officers over a Toyota Prado.

The charge

Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large kidnapped Katusabe before beating her to death over a sh9m debt.

They are also accused of robbing the deceased of her cell phone worth sh300, 000.

 

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