KAMPALA – High Court Judge Flavia Anglin Senoga has on Monday July 22 sentenced two men to 30 years in prison for killing a mechanical engineering student of the University of British Columbia, Canada outside Kampala Serena Hotel on New Year’s eve in 2015.
On July 15, 2019 Justice Senoga found the two men guilty of murder and aggravated robbery. The accused include; Ronald Mutebi and Geoffrey Lubwama alias Jeffy.
Justice Senoga ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the duo killed the 19-year old Andrew Gatare.
She noted that the offences where premeditated crime as the convicts left their areas of residence deliberately targeting people entering the new year in order to enrich themselves and in the process took the life of a young person which can never be recovered.
“Each of the two convicts is sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on the two counts which will run co-currently. The period spent on remand has already been put into account otherwise they were to serve 35years,” the Judge ruled.
However, during mitigation the prosecution led by Ms Florence Akello had asked the court to sentence the two convicts to 40 years in jail arguing that the deceased’s life was ended abruptly.
Ms Akello told court that the deceased was a vulnerable 19-year-old boy at the time of his death who had gone to watch fireworks and there was no doubt that the two convicts planned to execute this which has subsequently traumatised the deceased’s family.
Although Ms Akello told court that the two are first-time offenders with no prior criminal records, she still insisted that they should be jailed for 40 years to set an example for would-be offenders.
This did not go well with the convicts’ lawyers who told court that the fact that the state agrees that the convicts are first-time offenders, this factor is enough to attract a lenient jail-term.
The legal defence team argued that the 40 years sentence is harsh and excessive.
Mr Fredrick Mbazira had also asked court to take into account the sentencing guidelines which state that youth below 35 years are deemed to have a high chance to reform.
He said that the convicts are still below 35 years.
Reacting to the Court’s Judgment Mr Gatare Tom, father to the deceased welcomed the sentence although he said this cannot bring his son’s life back.
However, Defence Lawyer Faisal Mulalira and Godfrey Kigozi a family member to convicted Geoffrey Lubwama, said they are dissatisfied with the High Court decision and are going to Court of Appeal to challenge it.
It was prosecution’s evidence that the duo and others still at large on January 1, 2015 at Kampala Serena Hotel on Nile Avenue with malice a forethought killed Gatere before robbing his cellphone.