The state prosecutors have asked the High Court to sentence to death, Copriyamu Kasolo and his fellow convicts to death for masterminding the kidnap and subsequent murder of social worker Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa.
The High Court in Kampala on Thursday morning found Kasolo, Johnson Lubega aka Manomano, Sharif Mpanga, Nassif Kalyango alias Muwonge and Hassan Kisekka alias Masadda guilty of kidnaping and murdering social worker, Maria Nagirinya and her driver, Ronald Kitayimbwa in 2019.
In mitigation, the state prosecutors including Jonathan Muwaganya and Timothy Amerit asked court to sentence the five to death since it is the only punishment that fits the nature of the offence.
“This court is empowered to pass death sentence is exceptional circumstances in the rarest of the rare where the alternative of imprisonment for life or another custodial sentence is demonstrably inadequate. The circumstances of the case fall within the ambits of the rarest of the rare cases,” Amerit told court.
“From the evidence in this court, it was clear that even long before the convicts met at ABC stage in Busega, they had curled the plan to execute the offences. While at ABC they carried out the plan. Their movements right from ABC boda boda stage, up to Mukono where the offences of murder and aggravated robbery were executed clearly gave them time to meticulously execute the offences and demonstrates how premeditated the commission of this crime was to the convicts.”
He said using GPS map on google, it reveals the distance between Lungujja where the kidnap took place and Mukono in Nama sub-county where the bodies were disposed of is a distance of 45km apart.
This he told court this facilitated the five convicts in deciding the manner of the final murder of the deceased persons and their robbery.
According to the prosecution lawyer, they acted as a group to further a common purpose, adding that any of the requirements is sufficient to empower court to pass as death sentence.
“It is our contention and submission that the offences the convicts committed were serious crimes and the manner in which they were executed was gruesome and horrendous in nature,” Amerit told court.
There is no doubt each of the five had a premeditation to commit the offences as this can be seen through the consequence of the crimes that were committed.”
He explained that premeditation draws the Nagirinya case in the bracket of the rare and rarest.
The prosecutor said it is critical that the court instills confidence in the criminal justice system with the public including those to the convicts as well as those distressed with the audacity and horror of the crime.
“I pray that this court takes consideration of the maximum sentence for each of the offences considering the meticulousness and aggressiveness with which they were committed, the premeditation and that A1(Kasolo) and A2(Lubega) were leaders of a criminal gang called B13 situated in Mabiito in Nateete terorising innocent members of the public to pass the death sentence.”
Jonathan Muwaganya could not agree more with the prayers of Amerit saying the death sentence is the most befitting of all.
“The late Nagirinya was a young adult just 26 years, stayed in school for almost her life, at the time when she met this senseless death, she had just graduated with a master’s degree. She was at the beginning of the most productive stage of her life. Nagirinya lost her life at the hand of these merciless convicts yet she was just newly married, she was less than a year in her holy matrimony. She had a family that looked up to her, especially her elderly father,”Muwaganya told court.
He noted that Kiatyimbwa was equally a young man who was made to leave behind a young widow, asking court to consider these factors while delivering a sentence.