The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has introduced fresh charges against an American couple facing allegations of torturing a 10 year old boy. The prosecution, led by Ms. Lillian Omara, unveiled an amended charge sheet containing two counts of Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatment before the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
The amended charges come following an agreement between the accused, Ms. Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer and her husband, Mr. Nicholas Scott Spencer, and the DPP. Their lawyer, Mr. David Mpanga, was present during this negotiation.
Ms. Mackenzie Spencer, through her legal representative, expressed her willingness to be considered under the ‘Plea Bargain Initiative.’ In such an arrangement, a suspect pleads guilty in exchange for a reduced punishment. Her husband, Mr. Nicholas Spencer, faces separate accusations of Child Neglect. Both individuals are currently out on bail.
The Plea Bargain Agreement led to the dismissal of the earlier charges of aggravated child trafficking and torture. Instead, these charges were replaced with accusations of cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, alongside child neglect. As part of the agreement, the accused couple has agreed to compensate the victim.
Justice Alice Komuhangi presided over the ruling, stating, “The two charges of aggravated trafficking in children and torture against the two accused persons are hereby discontinued, and the application to amend the charges is hereby allowed. The agreement has been admitted on court record, and I want to see the victim.” The case was subsequently adjourned to the following Tuesday.
The couple’s legal woes began on March 16, 2023, when they were committed to the High Court. The charges stemmed from allegations of torturing a 10 year old boy at their residence in Naguru, located in Nakawa Division. The alleged incidents occurred between December 2020 and December 2012.
According to the prosecution, the couple, during the mentioned period, recruited, transported, and maintained a 10 year-old child, exploiting his vulnerability. Additionally, they are accused of committing an act of aggravated torture, which violates the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act of 2012, with a possible life imprisonment sentence upon conviction.