The Court of Appeal has reduced the initial 50-year jail sentence for three men convicted of raping a nursing student. The court, consisting of Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Christopher Gashirabake, and Oscar Kihika, deemed the original punishment excessive.
The case dates back to February 4th, 2011, when Ben Omollo, Patrick Ecudo, and Gabriel Elomunait were found guilty of raping a nursing student at Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010. The then High Court Judge Margaret Oumo Oguli sentenced them to 50 years in prison.
The incident occurred on March 14th, 2010, during a traditional marriage ceremony in Kaler village, Mukura sub-county, Ngora District. The victim, referred to as A.S., left her friends to use the restroom, where Omollo and Elomunait confronted her. Despite her pleas, they forced her into a disturbing situation.
A.S. attempted negotiation, offering money, but the assailants insisted on having non-consensual sex. The court documents describe a harrowing account where they held her hostage, preventing her from rejoining the ceremony until she managed to escape after more than twenty minutes.
Upon reporting the incident to the police, the accused were arrested, tried, and initially sentenced to 50 years. In their appeal, the men argued that the identification parade was conducted improperly, leading to a miscarriage of justice. They also claimed that hearsay evidence was wrongly considered, resulting in an excessive and irregular sentence.
The Court of Appeal, however, upheld the identification parade’s validity and acknowledged the overwhelming evidence supporting the rape charges. The justices criticized the High Court Judge for not considering the defendants as first-time offenders, emphasizing their youth and potential for rehabilitation. They also pointed out that one of the convicts was living with HIV in prison, making the original sentence excessively harsh.