Thursday May 22 2014

Judges reject ex-MP Godi’s plea over his murder appeal

By Juliet Kigongo

The Supreme Court has rejected a request filed by former Arua Municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi to extend by a week the filing of his defence in an appeal against a conviction for the murder of his wife.

His lawyer Henry Kunya told court he was unable to argue the appeal because he had received records of trial proceedings from the Court of Appeal quite late.

“We were supposed to get the records by April 16 but we got them on May 10,” Mr Kunya submitted.
In 2011, Godi was sentenced to 25 years in jail for the murder of his 19-year old wife Rehema Caesar.

Godi was 28 years old at the time. He appealed against the judgment but the Court of Appeal upheld his sentence.
He further appealed to the Supreme Court, the final level of appeal.
Yesterday, Godi pleaded with Supreme Court to grant him more time to read proceedings as he intends to represent himself, after his lawyer had said he was not prepared to argue the appeal.

Reasons for delay
Godi cited poor conditions in prison and the long lapse the court takes to hold a criminal session.

“This court last heard a criminal session in 2011, I am scared I might not get another chance of hearing my case soon,” Mr Godi pleaded.

However, state prosecutor told judges that court does not work under the litigant’s instructions and asked them to adjourn the hearing of the appeal to the next criminal session.

The five-judge panel is comprised Justice Jotham Tumwesigye, assisted by justices Galdine Okello, Esther Kisaakye, Wilson Tsekooko and Christine Kitumba.

Speaking to journalists after the court session yesterday, Godi said: “I did law. With or without a lawyer, I can proceed with my appeal.”