What you need to know:
- Mr Nicholas Spencer and Ms Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer, who are facing charges of aggravated trafficking and torture of a 10-year-old, appeared before the High Court judge Isaac Muwata for hearing of their bail application pending the hearing of the charges against them.
The High Court in Kampala heard that the jailed American couple that is accused of aggravated trafficking and torture are a flight risk and should not be granted bail.
Mr Nicholas Spencer and Ms Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer, who are facing charges of aggravated trafficking and torture of a 10-year-old, appeared before the High Court judge Isaac Muwata for hearing of their bail application pending the hearing of the charges against them.
Prosecution led by Ms Joan Keko and Joseph Kyomuhendo told the court that the couple are citizens and permanent residents of the United States of America with no family or community ties in Uganda.
“Whereas the law does not prohibit a foreigner from applying for bail, there is need to exercise great caution as to the likelihood of the applicants. The fact that the applicants are not law-abiding, they are foreigners and are charged with offences that attract the death and life sentences. These are facts that are indicative of the applicants being flight risk,” the submissions of the state read.
Among other grounds, the state noted that the couple did not disclose any exceptional circumstance to warrant their release. Also, the offences involve extreme personal violence and the sureties presented are not substantial.
In the affidavit of Mr Ivan Kyazze, a state attorney in support of the state’s submission, the couple shall be committed to the International Crimes Division of the High Court, which is appropriate for their bail application hearing.
“Releasing the applicants on bail would amount to condoning an illegality as they have no visa and work permits to stay and work in Uganda. They are illegal immigrants who will continue breaching the Uganda Immigration laws once they are released on bail,” Mr Kyazze stated.
Court heard that Ms Mackenzie’s police clearance certificate dated September 2, 2021 that indicated that she has no criminal charges, expired and she has since been charged while Mr Spencer’s certificate of good conduct from Interpol expires in May, although it is no longer eligible having been charged.
Through their lawyers of AF Mpanga Advocates, the couple applied for bail pending hearing of their case. They noted that they have serious pre-existing medical conditions that require management outside the confines of a prison, not a threat to any investigation, offences against them are bailable and still enjoy the presumption of innocence.
They further noted that they are responsible citizens of the United States of America with good character, who until their arrest, resided in Ntinda, Kampala.
Meanwhile, the magistrate court at Buganda Road noted that the couple would be committed to the High Court for trial today [Thursday].
Prosecution alleges that the couple between December 2020 and December 2021, at Naguru in Kampala, recruited, transported and maintained a 10-year-old by means of position of vulnerability for purposes of exploitation.
It further alleged that the couple also committed an act of aggravated torture contrary to the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012 against the minor, where punishment upon conviction, is life imprisonment.