Tuesday January 21 2014

Mbale judge decries high defilement cases

By David Mafabi


Mbale High Court judge has decried the increasing number of defilement cases in the eastern region, describing the offenders as “wild sexual maniacs with a pervasion of wild beasts”. “The rate at which young girls are being abused is getting high,” Justice Henry Kawesa said at the beginning of a week-long High Court criminal session on Monday.

Out of 38 cases to be handled, 17 (65 per cent) are defilement-related and were committed last year. Majority of the suspects pleaded guilty. The court also serves Pallisa, Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo, Kibuku and Budaka districts.

While delivering judgment to Stephen Masafu, who defiled an 11-year-old girl, the judge said despite pleading guilty to aggravated defilement, the accused should be severely punished to deter other would-be offenders. He sentenced him to 15 years in jail.

“The accused, who would have offered the young girl protection, turned himself into a wild sexual maniac with the pervasion of a wild beast,” Justice Kawesa said. “The society is very apprehensive of men who have turned child upbringing in Uganda into a risky, costly and painful exercise,” he added.

Justice Kawesa warned individuals against attempting to compromise courts by bribing them, saying the success of imposing appropriate sentencing would depend on the evidence adduced by key witnesses. He called for cooperation between the State lawyers and the police.

Dr Bernabas Rubanza, the police surgeon, said when young girls are defiled, severe medical conditions such as fistula, inability to hold urine and faeces occur. “It is such negative medical conditions, if not treated early, usually lead to hemorrhage and eventually result in the death of the victim,” Dr Rubanza said.

The doctor said besides the psycho-emotional trauma, the victims are also exposed to sexually-transmitted infections and HIV/Aids.