The Appeals Court of the General Court Martial in Makindye has reduced former Boda Boda 2010 patron, Abdalla Kitatta’s eight-year sentence to only three years.
Kitatta was last year found guilty of unlawful possession of an SMG rifle and a pistol without a valid firearm licence and unlawful possession of 30 and 20 rounds of ammunition for SMG rifles and pistol before he was sentenced together with his bodyguard to 10 years and six months’ imprisonment.
However, their appeal, the duo said the lower court erred in law when it convicted him and his bodyguard by relying on the weakness of the defence team rather than the strength of the prosecution evidence.
On Friday, Justice Elly Turyamubona ruled that it was wrong for the army court to give maximum sentences of 10 years to each of the convicts despite being first offenders.
“It is very clear that each of the accused was given a maximum sentence on each of the count despite the fact that the court had observed that the convicts were first offenders and there was no evidence that those firearms were involved in any crime in addition to other mitigating factors that were brought to the attention of court,” Justice Turyamubona ruled.
The judge argued that there was no evidence to show that the two convicts had endangered anyone’s life by mere possession of the said firearms.
He therefore noted it was wrong to hand maximum sentences to each of the two convicts.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the prosecution didn’t disprove beyond reasonable doubt any assertion made by the defence as required in the sentencing guidelines for courts of judicature.
“The trial court should have relied on the sentencing guidelines in determining an appropriate sentence to pass especially the second schedule to the sentencing guidelines, which spelt out factors to take them into consideration when sentencing.”
“… we find that the sentences imposed on the appellants were harsh and excessive and amount to miscarriage of justice.”
The court therefore ruled that the duo will now serve one year, eight months and six days on each of the counts and the sentences will run concurrently.
The latest development means Kitatta and his bodyguard will spend only one year eight months and six days after deducting the time he has so far been in prison.