Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1117 EAT on Tuesday 14th March 2023.
The prosecution and defense in the Muhammad Kirumira trial have concluded their submissions and prayers before the court.
Kirumira, the former Buyende district police commander (DPC) was gunned down together with his female friend Resty Nalinya Mbabazi by unknown people on September 8, 2018, in Bulenga in Wakiso district.
Last year, the High court in Kampala commenced the trial of Hamza Mwebe and Abubakar Kalungi in connection to the double murder. However, lady justice Margrate Mutonyi acquitted Mwebe in December after the prosecution failed to prove their case against him. She however ruled that Kalungi had a case to answer and placed him on the defense.
Having concluded the defense hearing last month, the court on Monday heard final submissions from the prosecution led by Thomas Jatiko and the defense led by counsel Zefania Zimbe. Jatiko asked the court to consider the evidence presented before it to find Kalungi guilty of double murder.
He referred to the charge and caution statement said to have been made by Kalungi in which, he implicated himself as having participated in the murders. He further said that Kalungi had revealed to his mother, when, he was taken to her house, that his friends Mwebe and Abdu Kateregga who was killed by security had strayed him.
The prosecution alleges that Kalungi told his mother of how he had been hired to trail Kirumira, which he did, and informed the assassins who finally took his life and that of Mbabazi. Kalungi was taken to his mother’s home in Mpigi by security to inspect the home where he is said to have spent the night after allegedly participating in the double murder.
The prosecution also referred to evidence indicating that Kalungi had called Kateregga, who is said to have pulled the trigger when the offence was committed. This was based on the call logs secured from Airtel Uganda.
On his side, counsel Zimbe asked the court to find his client not guilty because the evidence presented by the prosecution did not place his client at the scene of the crime, had contradictions, and the charge and caution statement based upon was illegal.
On the point of failure to place Kalungi at the scene of the crime, Zimbe said that the eyewitness that the prosecution presented did not identify the killers, save for seeing two motorcycles both with passengers.
On the issue of contradictions, he cited several including, that one police officer said the motorcycles were sport bikes while the other said they were TVS, and also that the eye witness presented by the prosecution said that the shooters fled through Bulaga-Mityana side while two police officer in their testimony said, the shooters took the Busega, Kyengera Nsangi route after committing the murders.
Regarding the charge and caution statement said to have been written by police officer Stephen Wolimbwa, Zimbe said that the statement didn’t bear the mandatory caution and on that note, “the accused person wasn’t cautioned before the making of this alleged statement. Also (Wolimbwa) testified that he didn’t interpret the content of the statement to the accused person”.
Zimbe further told the court that his client had been made to sign several documents after he had been tortured and this statement could be one of those. He cited the medical report of Dr Santos Ojara who examined Kalungi as saying that the suspect was found to have been injured on his forehead, his lower lip, and his back.
The injuries, the doctor wrote in his report, had been inflicted less than a week before the examination. The charge and caution statement was written on September 29, 2018, while the doctor conducted the examination and issued a report on October 2, 2018.
“This means by the time he made the charge and caution statement, he had been tortured and coerced to write his name, and sign documents that could include the statement. Look at the charge and caution statement to see how the name was written. It shows that the writer was either illiterate or his hands were handcuffed” argued the defense lawyer.
In his rejoinder, state prosecutor Thomas Jatiko dismissed the said contradictions as minor and added that the charge and caution statement was tabled and accepted by the court and no evidence of torture of the accused was allowed by the court.
As for placing the accused at the scene of the crime, he says the call logs indicated he was in the vicinity of the murder scene at the time the murder was executed. The presiding judge Margrate Mutonyi adjourned the matter to March 24 to sum up, the submissions and hear from the court assessors.