What you need to know:
- Twinomugisha had been accused of shooting and killing on the spot Maria Mirindi Birungi Katasi, then a third-year Social Science student, her cousin, Cpl Mirindi Amooti Kajabagu and Richard Tumwesigye, both law students in fourth and third year, respectively as they returned from a law dinner.
A former Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) child soldier accused of murder has been released after spending 22 years on remand without trial.
Alex Twinomugisha was arrested on October 19, 1999 on allegations of killing three Makerere University students.
However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Thursday dropped the charges against him at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court days after the Kampala High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana on February 9, 2022 gave the state an ultimatum of two weeks to suspend all other business and ensure that officials involved in handling the 22-year-old criminal case that has never been heard is resurrected.
"This is to inform court that the DPP has decided to discontinue proceedings against Alex Twinomugisha charged with murder contrary to sections 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act," reads the withdrawal letter signed by the DPP, Jane Frances Abodo.
The letter was Thursday presented before Justice Ssekaana alongside a discharge order signed by Buganda road chief magistrate, Dr Douglas Singiza, who directed that Twinomugisha be set free immediately unless held for some other lawful reason.
"Whereas the accused was brought before this court and charged with the offence (s) of murder contrary to section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act. And, whereas on February 24, 2022, the Director of Public prosecutions diceded to discontinue proceedings against the accused person under withdrawal form serial No.1432, in the presence of Ms Joan Keko, Counsel for the state and Mr Godfrey Turyamusiima and Mr Jonathan Kilyowa, counsel for the accused. It is hereby ordered that the accused person be set free forthwith unless held for some other lawful reason," Dr Singiza ordered.
Twinomugisha had petitioned High Court seeking its intervention to compel the DPP to use her powers under Article 120 (3) a & b of the Constitution to discontinue the said proceedings for non-existent of the file in all the offences and also for failure for the last 22 years to commit his file to the High Court to stand trial.
Twinomugisha had been accused of shooting and killing on the spot Maria Mirindi Birungi Katasi, then a third-year Social Science student, her cousin, Cpl Mirindi Amooti Kajabagu and Richard Tumwesigye, both law students in fourth and third year, respectively as they returned from a law dinner.
Court sources had told this publication that Twinomugisha suspected that one of the students was a key witness in the Tororo Prince, Happy Kijanangoma and, Stephen Kaganda, a guard’s, trial.
He was jointly charged with former Tooro Kingdom prime minister John Sanyu Katuramu and his nephew, Patrick Kwezi, who was accused of transmitting cash to the killers.
In 2000, Twinomugisha, a former UPDF child soldier, battled two murder case files concurrently.
The file where he was jointly charged with Katuramu was fast tracked and the trio was found guilty of the murder of Kijanangoma in 2001 by then High Court judge John Bosco Katutsi.
All the three were sentenced to death by hanging.
However, they got a lease of their life when they benefited from the Susan Kigula Supreme Court landmark judgment that saw their death sentence commuted to 20 years imprisonment after court ruled that death sentence was no longer mandatory.
Late last year, Katuramu was released from prison after serving the 20 years in prison but Twinomugisha was further detained on grounds that he had a pending file in which he is accused of killing three Makerere University students, 22 years ago.
It is this same case file that Twinomugisha had challenged for taking long to be disposed of.