KAMPALA – Court of appeal have ordered prison authorities to release a Security operative attached to the former Violent Crime Crack Unit, Arajabu Katongole who was wrongly adjudged.
Katongole was jailed in 2009 for 25 years as punishment for murder of a one Juvule Rukundo in 2003. However, the Court of appeal quashed the punishment citing wrongful conviction by the High Court.
A panel of three justices; Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi ordered the release of Mr Katongole reasoning that the lower court wrongly convicted him. He was released after spending 17 years in prison.
The judges ruled that High Court the trial judge in the High Court failed in his duty to ensure that there were no instances of mistaken identity.
“In our view, in the circumstances of this case, the appellant was not properly identified as the one who actually shot and killed the deceased,” ruled the judges blaming the investigating officer for doing shoddy investigations in the case.
In July 2009, High Court Judge Joseph Murangira convicted and sentenced Mr Katongole to 25 years imprisonment for murder Juvule Rukundo.
Court records show that the deceased Rukundo was shot from a moving taxi in July 2003 at Kisugu in Kampala during an operation to crackdown suspected criminals.
But the court held that the stripped short which the accused dressed on the fateful day was never presented to court as an exhibit while the gun tendered was not confirmed that it indeed fired the bullets that shot the deceased.
“It (gun) was also not connected to the appellant (Katongole). The persons, that is the arresting officer, Onen Chan who was his boss and Kasozi Dauda who were at the scene of crime were never called to testify in court,” ruled Justice Musoke.
According to the judgment, the trail judge ‘simply’ believed the prosecution case in isolation without considering the defence case.
“In our view, the charges against the appellant were not proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law. We find the appellant not guilty, quash the conviction, set aside the sentence and acquit him and order for his release forthwith,” the judges ordered.
Through his lawyers of JW Advocates, Mr Katongole successfully appealed against the conviction and sentence. He faulted the trial judge for convicting him on a charge and caution statement involuntarily made.