The two assessors appointed to give an opinion on the ongoing trial of six people accused of masterminding the kidnap, murder and robbery of social worker, Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa have advised court to convict them.
The assessors including Sharp Mutoni and Simon Okongo on Tuesday morning gave their opinion, having listened to evidence from the prosecution and the defence of the accused noting that it is crystal clear that the six participated in the execution of the crimes.
“We are of the joint opinion that evidence provided by the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt about the conduct and involvement of each of the accused in the commission of the crime . This court should accordingly convict the accused persons as charged,” Mutoni said as she read the joint opinion.
According to the assessors, unchallenged evidence by the prosecution shows that Coporiyamu Kasolo, alias Arsenal was the ringleader of the group who coordinated the mission but also recruited the others to take part.
“Kasolo mobilized the others but also made a toy pistol to threaten the deceased but also drove the vehicle. He also participated the murder.”
The assessor said the above evidence is further corroborated by the testimony of Isaac Ssenabulya who was part of the mission but has since been convicted, jailed and later used as a state witness to pin the others.
Quoting Ssenabulya’s evidence, the assessors said Kasolo together with Johnson Lubega and Ssenabulya rode on two separate motorcycles and found Nagirinya’s vehicle at the gate hooting as she waited to be opened for and consequently kidnapped her together with the driver, Ronald Kitayimbwa.
The assessors’ opinion indicated that Hassan Kisekka would later provide a red jacket to Kasolo that he used to conceal the toy pistol that was used to threaten the deceased.
Boda boda riders
Whereas Mpanga Sharif and Nasif Kalyango were touted by the prosecutors as boda boda riders who were used for the mission, the two accused persons told court in their defence that they were asked to ride Kasolo and his group to the scene and left after.
The two accused insisted they were mere boda boda riders who were hired to provide transport and didn’t know of the mission by Kasolo.
However, the assessors in their opinion told court that the two were not mere boda boda riders but rather involved in the planning and execution of the mission.
“Upon kidnap, the two remained at the scene to secure the others before they rode away. From the CCTV footage, it is clear that Mpanga and Kalyango only left the scene after the mission had been executed,” Mutoni told court.
Quoting Ssenabulya’s evidence, the assessors said when the footage was shown to him at police, he identified the two boda bodas as those being ridden by Mpanga and Kalyango.
The assessors dismissed as untrue claims by Kasolo and Lubega that they had been tortured before recording the charge and caution statement and going for scene reconstruction where they admitted to have participated in the kidnap, murder and robbery.
They insisted that the call data record and technical report by experts from CMI indicated that the six accused were in constant communication before, during and after the commission of the offence .
“The accused’s conduct before, during and after shows their participation in this criminality. It is our opinion that the accused persons are liable both individually and collectively since the kidnap, murder and robbery were done in the entire process of carrying out an unlawful purpose,” the assessors told court.
The trial judge, Isaac Muwata set October, 19, 2023 as the date to deliver his judgement in the matter.
Six people including Coporiyamu Kasolo, alias Arsenal, Johnson Lubega aka Manomano, Sharif Mpanga, Nassif Kalyango alias Muwonge, Hassan Kisekka alias Masadda and Sadat Kateregga are accusing of the kidnap, murder and aggravated robbery of Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa.
An assessor is an ordinary person appointed by court to aid it in a case and doesn’t have any special training.
Assessors sit with the judge during the entire trial listening to the evidence as presented by both sides and at the end of the trial, they render their lay man’s opinion on the matter.
These advise the judge to either convict or acquit the accused based on their analysis of the case but their opinion doesn’t bind.
The judge can adopt the opinion or depart from it.