The Court of Appeal has upheld a 31-year jail sentence handed to a man by the High Court after being convicted of hitting a special hire driver on the head before robbing him of the vehicle
According to court documents, George Kavuma in 2011 together with a colleague asked a special hire driver to help them transport a female patient who had been discharged from Mulago hospital to their home in Lungujja, a Kampala suburb after agreeing to pay him shs20000 for the transportation service.
The driver of Toyota Premio registration number, UAP 315J accepted the offer and during the journey, the group asking him to stop for them to buy some foodstuffs including a bunch of matooke that was put in the vehicle’s boot.
On reaching Lungujja, the driver was asked to stop near a gate for the patient and his caretakers to disembark.
Kavuma and his colleague moved the woman said to be the patient from Mulago from the vehicle but they asked the driver to help them remove matooke from the car boot.
However, as the driver bent to get the bunch of matooke from the vehicle, he was hit on the head and only regained consciousness while in hospital where he stayed for a month.
Kavuma was later arrested and arraigned before the High Court in Kampala where Justice Duncan Gaswaga sentenced him to 31 year imprisonment after being convicted of aggravated robbery contrary to sections 285 and 286(2) of the Penal Code Act.
Dissatisfied with the conviction and subsequent sentence, Kavuma appealed.
However, in the judgment, a panel of three justices of the Court of Appeal including Justice Kenneth Kakuru, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Irene Mulyagonja reasoned with the lower court to maintain the sentence.
Whereas Kavuma had argued in his appeal that the driver of the vehicle who was the second prosecution witness during the trial had not properly identified him, the justices dismissed the same as not true.
“The facts of the case as set out clearly show that the victim PW2( driver) had sufficient time to interact with the assailants that night. We also note that the interaction was cordial. The would-be assailants posed no threat not threat to the witness and had no reason to be afraid of them. On the contrary, they took time with each other closely for over an hour,” the judges of the Court of Appeal said in their judgment.
They said therefore there couldn’t have been a case of mistaken identity on the side of the driver who testified in court.
“Be it as it may, we find no reason to interfere with the sentence imposed by the learned trial judge and we hereby uphold it. In the reason, the appeal fails and is hereby dismissed.”