Two sisters, who were arrested in 2010 for allegedly smuggling a knife into Luzira Maximum Security Prison to suspects on remand over the July 11 twin bombing in the city, have been acquitted.
The Buganda Road Magistrates Court presided over by Ms Eleanor Khainza cleared the duo; Ms Farida Hamudu and Ms Fatuma Abdallah of the charges of conveying an instrument into prison to facilitate escape and going armed in public.
Prosecution had told court that on December 2, 2010 at Luzira prison in Kampala District, the accused persons and others still at large conveyed into Luzira Maximum Security Prison a pineapple fruit with a knife embedded inside, with intent to facilitate escape of prisoners Al-Amin Kimathi, a Kenyan human rights activist, and Omar Awadh Omar.
Court heard that on the same day and place the two, who is relatives to the said prisoners, carried an offensive weapon (a knife) in public without permission, in such a manner so as to cause terror to any person.
However, the trial chief Magistrate, Ms Khainza held that the state had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“Evidence showed that there was a thorough search that was carried outside the gate and female visitors would always leave their things outside. While they are searched from inside something can happen to their property,” the Magistrate ruled.
“It is clear that there were several security checks before the alleged knife was found. It is possible that while the accused were being searched somebody could have deposited a pineapple among their things. I also observed the demeanor of the accused persons throughout the trail and they appeared consistent and truthful. I would therefore find that they did not convey the pineapple which had a knife into the prison,” the magistrate further said.
She also explained that on the second count of going armed in public, the Penal Code Act provides that the carrying of an object is supposed to be an avert act that is done in an open way and not secretly. The evidence which was adduced showed that the offensive weapon was found concealed in a pineapple.
“The suspects were not found openly carrying a knife. I would therefore find that the prosecution has failed proved the ingredients of the offence beyond reasonable doubt and I proceed to find the accused persons not guilty of the offense of conveying an instrument into prisons to facilitate escape and I acquit them accordingly on both counts,” held Magistrate, Khainza.
Earlier on during the hearing of the case, court acquitted the duo’s co-accused a one Abdi Aziz alias Madope on no case to answer.