Kirabo found guilty of girlfriend’s murder in absentia

This photo montage shows Mathew Kirabo (L) who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Desire Mirembe (R). FILE PHOTO/COURTESY 

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According to Justice Henry Kaweesa Isabirye, a careful study of all the evidence from all the parties shows that the case was a love story gone wrong

The High Court in Mukono has convicted Matthew Kirabo, in absentia, for the murder of his girlfriend Desire Mirembe Jemima, a former Makerere University Medical student. 
According to Justice Henry Kaweesa Isabirye, a careful study of all the evidence from all the parties shows that the case was a love story gone wrong.

"I do find that the circumstantial evidence before me is well corroborated. It shows that for a fact this was a sad story of love gone sour. These two love birds developed relationship challenges and the girl sought counselling and in the process, they agreed to meet and resolve their differences, and according to the evidence, this never came to be. The last time the two met was on that fateful night. Events that followed that meeting let to the death of Desire Mirembe. The mystery that followed the meeting was however, revealed by the evidence on record and this evidence to me as has been offered by the prosecution has no other possible explanation or hypothesis, save that which is being offered by the prosecution that it's Matthew Kirabo who killed Desire Mirembe. In that conclusion, I therefore, find that prosecution proved their case beyond reasonable doubt that it's Kirabo Matthew who participated in this offence of murder. I therefore, find him guilty of this charge and hereby convict him," the judge said on Monday as he delivered the verdict.
Court heard that on the night between July 10 and 11, 2015, Kirabo murdered Mirembe in Lugazi, Kawolo, and dumped her body in a sugar cane plantation.

The prosecution produced 15 witnesses and relied on a video recording shot by Detective Joel Aiko where Kirabo incriminated himself as he confessed to murdering Mirembe. In the video footage, Kirabo is seen leading a team of detectives to Nakumati Oasis mall where he picked up the deceased and later led them to the scene of crime in Lugazi to demonstrate how he murdered Mirembe.

He is on several occasions seen trying to correct the detectives each time they tried to conclude what they thought had happened at the crime scene. The prosecution also produced a charge and caution statement that Kirabo made at Kampala central police station confessing to the crime.

The defence tried in vain to stop the court from accepting the statement on grounds that his client made it under duress after being tortured. The judge also concluded that Kirabo was fully aware of the consequences of his statement when he made it and was never coerced as claimed by his lawyers.
The defence also tried to downplay the case, saying that the evidence brought by the state did not in any way incriminate Kirabo and brought witnesses to make an alibi for their client. The four witnesses confirmed seeing Kirabo at the church around midnight the night Mirembe was killed.

However, in his verdict, the judge noted that the defence witnesses only strengthened the prosecution case. The state argued that Kirabo committed the offence before he went to church. The Judge noted that Kirabo murdered Mirembe and went to her hostel where he sent fake messages to her relatives before and dumped her phone at the Kitezi garbage dumping site to cover up his tracks before going to church.

The State Attorney Happiness Ainebyona asked court to sentence Kirabo in his absence citing the case of Ug Vs Kabafunzaki where he was sentenced in his absence. However, Justice Kaweesa said that there is a warrant of arrest for Kirabo, which has not been executed. He ordered that they find the accused person, arrest him and produce him before the court him for sentencing.

Mirembe's father, Emmanuel Musoke welcomed the judgment saying: “After seven years we finally receive judgment. However, it is absurd that the convict is nowhere to be found,” Musoke said.
He appealed to the public to help him find the convict and bring him to court for sentencing so they can get closure. Kirabo absconded from the court last year after being granted bail. Despite this, the court decided to proceed with the case in his absence leading to today's decision.