On conviction, the offences attract maximum sentences of three, and seven year’s imprisonment
The 11 people who were arrested in Kireka, Wakiso district, over holding a sex party and defying lawful orders, have turned around and denied committing the offences, changing their earlier plea of guilty.
The accused had admitted the charges on Wednesday but when they appeared before Kira Court Grade One Magistrate Esther Nahirya on Friday, they said they needed to change their plea of guilty to not guilty.
A lawyer from Hope Focus Uganda, Ronald Ewalo, who represented the accused, submitted that his clients are at liberty to change plea before sentencing.
He said, "My clients pleaded guilty to the charges because they did not know the consequences of the offences".
However, a state prosecutor, who informed the court that investigations are still ongoing, objected to the lawyer's request.
The magistrate, who was expected to pass sentences to the accused, will now decide whether the convicts can change their plea when the accused re-appear in court on November 13, 2020.
The hearing of the case was conducted at Buganda Road Chief Magistrates' Court in Kampala via video conferencing that is connected to Kitalya and Kigo Government Prisons.
The accused are battling charges of disobedience of lawful orders, a negligent act likely to spread infection of disease, keeping a brothel, indecent practices, prostitution, and promoting trafficking in persons.
On conviction, the offences attract maximum sentences of three, and seven year's imprisonment, respectively.
Those who want to change plea include Suzan Akwir, 25, Phiona Nalubega, 27, Prossy Nabukenya alias Nakimera, 20, Esther Apio, 26, Christine Nsereko, 21, Edith Nakimbugwe, 22, Mariam Nakalembe, 20, Ali Mugisha, 26, Sabra Achen, 23, Shakira Nanteza, 28, and Irene Namatovu, 28.
Meanwhile, Yesiga Mugenyi, 20, a boda boda rider, and Sharon Amutusimire, 26, a business lady alleged to be the owner of Tower Guest House in Kireka, denied the charges on their first court appearance at the Chief Magistrates' Court at Kira.
Amutusimire faces separate charges of keeping a brothel and promoting trafficking in persons.
The prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large on October 10, 2020 at Kireka Tower Guest House, Kira Municipality in Wakiso district while in a sex party disobeyed lawful orders, namely curfew, of being in their homes between 9:00 pm and to 5:30 am issued by President Yoweri Museveni.
It is also alleged that the accused in the same place, unlawfully and negligently engaged in a social gathering, an act they knew to be likely to spread infection of disease, namely COVID-19, a disease dangerous to human life.
The prosecution further alleges that Amutusimire and others still at large since 2019 at Kireka Namugongo division in Kira has been keeping rooms in Tower Guest House for purposes of prostitution.
Amutusimire is also accused of using the guesthouse for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old girl (name withheld).