The Court of Appeal sitting in Masaka has increased the sentence of a 67 Year Old Man identified as Wasswa Stephen from 44 years in Prison handed to him by the High Court to the much stricter life imprisonment.
In its Judgment delivered on Wednesday, 19th July 2023, a three-member panel of Court of Appeal Justices led by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera agreed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that Wasswa’s first sentence was “lenient” in light of the heinous crime he committed on a helpless young girl and therefore deserved to be in prison for the rest of life.
According to court filings, Mr. Wasswa Stephen kidnapped a normal and healthy girl child of about 2 years of age with the intention of murdering her after developing a wrangle with her parents for allegedly poisoning his chicken.
He then cut her tongue off, removed her teeth, cut her stomach, her fingers, and her feet, and mutilated her labia minora.
“There was spasticity in all limbs, she could neither sit nor move, she suffered poor posture, she cannot chew food neither can she feed herself. She can neither walk, roll nor turn.”The Court was told in the appeal case ironically filed by Mr. Wasswa Stephen challenging the initial 44 years in prison sentence.
After “appraising” themselves of the circumstances of the case including seeing his innocent victim, the Judges who included Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and Justice Eva Luswata concluded that Wasswa’s was “a good case for a sentence of 44 years’ imprisonment to be enhanced in material particulars.”
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“ Having found that the proper procedure for enhancement of sentence was followed in this case, we are of the view that given the peculiar circumstances of this case to wit; prior to being kidnapped the victim was a normal two-year-old infant who could even fetch firewood with older siblings far from home and that after the kidnap, she was maimed for life as a result of [ Mr. Wasswa’s] gruesome acts; there was a case made out for enhancement of sentence.”The Court said.
“We noted earlier that we were able to see via video link, the current condition of the child. She cannot move and cannot talk. She has a visibly contorted frame. It is hard to imagine that this was a normal two-year-old child living a normal life before this incident.”
In honor of Wasswa’s victim, who’s been nicknamed “Hope” the DPP has organized an event dubbed “Hope Gala” under the theme; “Healing the Scars” that is scheduled for 28th July 2023.
“ This comes as a big success for victims of crime particularly cases of child sacrifice and human trafficking which the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in conjunction with other Justice stakeholders are grappling with.”Said Ms. Jacquelyn Okui, the Public Relations Officer at ODPP.
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