KAMPALA– Justice Jane Frances Abodo has set September 25 as a day when she will deliver her ruling on whether to quash and set aside the conviction and a 2-year imprisonment term that was handed down to Brian Isiko 25 year college student for stalking the Kabarole district woman MP Sylvia Rwaboogo.
A soft-spoken Isiko through his lawyer Ramathan Waiswa has presented three grounds upon which he wants the high court to quash the judgment of Buganda Road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu.
In his appeal, Isiko is faulting Ms Kamasanyu of changing his plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty without following the prescribed procedure in the law.
To prove this, his lawyer Waiswa has reproduced the record of the lower court where his client admits downloading MP Rwabwogo’s contact from the parliamentary Website and expressed his freedom of speech through sending her love messages he picked in love songs and poems of American celebrities; Don Williams and Enrique Iglesias.
Waiswa says “It is in this elaborate explanation of his actions that court mistakenly took as Isiko’s admission of offences on June 20, 2018,” Mr Waiswa said.
Isiko’s lawyer told court that his conviction was uncalled for because he sent the love messages thinking it was an easier way of befriending and seeking guidance from the MP and not necessarily to harass or harm her.
He further faulted the court for convicting him on charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication basing on inadequate pieces of evidence.
“In the absence of a single love message or phone call that is rude, obscene or indecent tendered in court by Ms Rwabogo as originating from Isiko, the magistrate acted unreasonably to convict his client of offensive communication,” Mr Waiswa told court.
The lower court is also faulted for failing to treat Isiko as a first offender whose actions had caused no harm or injury to Ms Rwabwogo and hence handed him a harsh and excessive sentence. The lawyer has instead asked court if it’s inclined to uphold Isiko’s conviction, it should reduce his 2-year jail term to a fine.
However, the state prosecutor Ms Joanita Tumwishirize opposed Isiko’s appeal maintaining that the 2 counts were audibly read to him before he pleaded guilty.
“If there are any irregularities observed during the trial process in the lower court, the High court should instead order for a re-trial instead of setting Isiko free,” Ms Tumwishirize said.
Isiko who is out on bail has since returned back at YMCA -Jinja campus to complete his studies.