What you need to know:
- Speaking to the media moments after the ruling, Ssendyowa’s lawyer Ssekyewa, said that he is happy that his client finally received justice though hi co-accused [Rhodah] died in prison before getting the appeal ruling.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Masaka has acquitted a man after his conviction for murder after 15 years.
Johnson Ssendyowa and his co-accused Rhodah Kyalimpa (now dead) had been sentenced to 35 years in 2009.
According to records before a court, the then Masaka High Court judge Justice Mike Chibita convicted the duo after finding them guilty of conniving to kill Geoffrey Bujingo (Rhodah’s husband).
The prosecution alleged that Kyalimpa had connived with her boyfriend Ssendyowa to poison Bujingo which led to his death.
The duo, however, appealed the sentence claiming that the court made a decision without looking at several procedural matters claiming that they were convicted on an out-of-court statement by the late Rhodah, yet this said statement was not recorded- making it hard to tell if it was treated as confession or charge and caution statement.
The presiding justices of the Court of Appeal led by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, and Lady Justice Eva K. Luswata agreed with the appellant's lawyer Sam Ssekyewa that the trial judge Chibita made an error to convict the duo on basis of an out of court statement that was not recorded anywhere, ordering release of the surviving appellant unless he is held on any other offence.
Speaking to the media moments after the ruling, Ssendyowa’s lawyer Ssekyewa, said that he is happy that his client finally received justice though hi co-accused [Rhodah] died in prison before getting the appeal ruling.
“We are excited that court agreed with our prayer to acquit our client, since the lower court convicted him without enough evidence because the claims made by the prosecution that the deceased (Rhodah) had confessed to police and village chairperson that she had been lured by Ssendyowa to kill her husband was not recorded anywhere,” Mr Ssekyewa said.
The Court of Appeal completed 19 other appeals, making a total of 20 appeals out of the 30 that the Masaka Court of Appeal criminal Session had to handle.
The justices also dismissed 11 appeals for lack of merit and four appeals were granted after the appellants made their case which prompted the Court of Appeal to give fresh rulings in these cases.
Court heard that two of the appellants including Rhodah and Dan Kayemba had died in the prison while serving their sentences.