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Sodomy convict acquitted over lost court records

KAMPALA – A 29-year-old man who was sentenced to 49 years in prison for sodomising a boy has been acquitted by the Court of Appeal over missing court documents. The panel, comprising justices Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi and Monica Mugenyi set free Gerald Ngobi, saying vital records including the judgement, allocutus, mitigation, and sentence were all
irretrievably lost.

“This appeal on the whole succeeds and the judgment of the trial court is set aside. The appellant is hereby set free unless he is held for other charges,” Kiryabwire ruled on May 21, 2024.
The justices declined to order a retrial in the interests of justice and directed that that file be brought to the attention of the Principal Judge, Flavian Zeija, so as to establish ways of curbing the loss of court records and fraudulent leakage.

Prosecution alleges that Ngobi on July 23, 2012, in Buguwa Zone Kawala Parish Balawoli sub-county in Kamuli district sodomised a 9-year-old boy (name withheld). “It is also public knowledge that the trial judge in this matter left the High The justices observed that it is the court’s constitutional duty under Article 126 (2) (b) to ensure that justice should not be delayed.
The court heard that Ngobi has been in custody for about 11 years and his appeal was heard in March 2023, nine years after his conviction.

“We take into account the time Ngobi already served and the frustration from the delay in hearing his case. It is in the interest of justice that the conviction and sentence against the appellant is set aside and the appellant is discharged unless held on other lawful grounds,” Kiryabwire ordered.

Source: New Vision