Thursday March 1 2012

Kathryne Fuller pleads guilty to abusing cocaine; fined Shs1m and released

Ms Karthyne Fuller being wheeled by her father

Ms Karthyne Fuller being wheeled by her father at Buganda Road Court on Thursday. Photo by Anthony Wesaka  

By Anthony Wesaka

Ms Kathryne Fuller, the South African woman who a fortnight ago was found unconscious in the same hotel room with an Amazing Race freelance producer, has been fined Shs1m after pleading guilty to using illicit drugs. Jeff Rice, the producer, was found dead.

However, the "special hire" driver, Mr Moses Kalanzi, 23, who was also charged for supplying Mr Rice and Ms Fuller with the contraband, denied the charges of manslaughter and supplying and dispensing restricted drugs (cocaine) to the duo. He was this afternoon remanded to Luzira Prison till March 15 when the matter comes up for mention.

Ms Fuller, who was brought to Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court in a wheel chair because her right side is paralyzed, paid the fine and was released. She is expected to be deported to South Africa, her home country.

“Yes your Worship, I plead quilt,” said Ms Muller in the presence of her father and lawyer Paul Rutisia.

“This should be looked at as a second chance being given to the accused who is alive by the God’s chance. The accused could have lost her life and she should use this to reflect her life instead and not indulge in drugs” said Ms Sylvia Nabaggala, the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, who presided over the case.

On February 17, Ms Fuller was found unconscious alongside Jeff Rice, who, according to the prosecution, overdosed with the very drug, cocaine. Rice was found dead at the balcony of the hotel room.

According to the prosecution's summary, Rice and Fuller came to Uganda on February 15 and booked into Lake Victoria Serena Hotel in Entebbe, Wakiso district.

The duo was part of a team that was set to film a documentary in Uganda in conjunction with Hope Medical Clinics, an affiliate to Sterley Hearing Foundation based in Minnesota USA.

However, the duo on the same day set off for Serena Hotel in Kampala from where Rice died after overdosing on cocaine that was allegedly sold to him by Mr Kalanzi.

Ms Fuller was rushed to Surgery Clinic in Kololo from where she has been receiving treatment until this Thursday, when she was arraigned in court.

Police recovered cocaine in the room they were staying, and investigations revealed that the two had abused the drug.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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