UGANDA – Court in Uganda has upheld a 15-year-jail term for a man convicted for stealing seven deep-fried pouch (Mandazi) and nine sticks of cigarettes at a shop in Masaka City.
Andrew Arinaitwe alias Kasasira was convicted for aggravated robbery and sentenced to 15 years in jail on his own plea of guilty by Justice Margaret Oumo-Oguli in¬†High Court sitting in Masaka City on April 25, 2013.
However, being dissatisfied with the sentence, the convict¬†appealed against it in the¬†Court of Appeal.
During the trial, in 2013, the court heard from the prosecution that on May 21, 2012, Kasasira’s victim Nowerina Nazziwa at about 10am was in¬†her house breastfeeding her child when she heard the sound of her safe in the shop being unlocked.
Ms Nazziwa upon coming out she found that Kasasira had picked super match cigarettes, mandazi, and Shs15,000 cash from the shop.
“When Kasasira saw Nazziwa, he pulled a knife from his trousers and pointed it at her. The victim, however, became courageous and grabbed Kasasira, and it was during that time that a passerby came to the victim’s rescue, he ran after Kasasira. More people joined in the pursuit and he was arrested,” the indictment read in part.
The indictment explained that the knife which the appellant used to intimidate the complainant was recovered from him. The Police also managed to recover seven mandazi, nine sticks of super match cigarettes, and cash Shs5,000.
Under the Trial and Indictment Act, Kasasira appealed his sentence on the sole ground that the learned trial judge erred in law and fact to impose a sentence of 15 years imprisonment which sentence was harsh and manifestly excessive under particular facts of the case.
In the appeal that was heard by a panel of three Court of Appeal Judges; Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota, and Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, Kasasira did not attend physically due to Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions.
The appellant through his defence attorney, Lawrence Yawe, argued that the trial judge did not consider mitigating factors in passing the sentence although she listed them.
Mr Yawe reasoned that the trial judge only castigated Kasasira as being shameless, scornful, wicked, and equated him to a terrorist. Counsel invited the court to consider the omission of those material factors and set aside the sentence among other factors.
The judges in a unanimous decision ruled that the appeal against the sentence has failed.
“The sentence of the High Court of 15 years imprisonment for the conviction of aggravated robbery contrary to sections 285 and 286(2) of the Penal Code is accordingly upheld.”
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