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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Defence lawyers withdraw from Kayanja sodomy case


New twist in Pastor Kayanja case: Two of the youth alleged to have been sodomised claimed instead that they had been beaten up by people associated with Kayanja’s accusers.


Defence lawyers withdraw from Kayanja sodomy case

Sunday, 12 August 2012 22:49

Written by Siraje Lubwama

Another twist of events unfolded in the on-going criminal case against six people – including four pastors – accused of tarnishing Pastor Robert Kayanja’s reputation when two of the defence lawyers resigned from the case this week.

The resignation of defence lawyers Edward Akankwasa and Paul Rutisya came after the trial magistrate Julius Borore denied the accused the right of appeal and instead ordered them to immediately make their defence on Wednesday. Borore took over the case from Patrick Wekesa who was accused of being bribed by Kayanja’s camp.

The accused are pastors Solomon Male of Arising for Christ Ministries, Martin Sempa of Makerere Community Church, Michael Kyazze and Robert Kayiira of Omega Healing Centre. Their co-accused are businesswoman Dorothy Kyomuhendo and local musician David Mukalazi. The accused and co-accused claim that Kayanja, who heads the Rubaga Miracle Centre and runs the global Robert Kayanja Ministries, sodomised boys at his Rubaga-based church.

On August 2, 2012, High Court Judge Lameck Nsubuga Mukasa dismissed an application by the accused to recall prosecution witnesses. Mukasa forthwith ordered that the file be sent back to Borore for further hearing. When the accused re-appeared at Buganda Road court on Wednesday, Akankwasa and Rutisya reported that their clients had appealed against Justice Mukasa’s decision and requested for a stay of proceedings. Both lawyers represent all the accused persons with the exception of Ssempa.

Though Steven Asaba, the prosecutor in the case, did not oppose this request and promised to abide by the court’s decision, Borore adjourned the case in the afternoon for a ruling. In the afternoon, the defence lawyers produced a letter from the Court of Appeal deputy registrar calling for the file in the appellant court, but Borore contended that the accused were merely delaying justice. He ordered them to start their defence.

“The defendants have had ample time to give their defences starting from November last year. I find that the excuses given are unreasonable. The prosecution should file its final written submissions this month, the defence should make a reply next month and in the premises, judgment is set for October 1, 2012,” the magistrate, who said he had 300 cases in his in-tray, ordered.

Speaking shortly after the adjournment, the accused, whose bail was extended until judgment day, vowed to get Borore off the case. Pastor Male said they are going to continue pursuing their appeal as well as petition the Judicial Service Commission over the magistrate’s position, which he said amounts to forcing them to make their defence unrepresented.

“We’re not all that stupid to be taken for a ride. Since the magistrate says he is too busy to attend to us, he should get off the case. We find his decision irregular. It is more evidence that they now fear that we may use the video testimony we received,” Male said.

The video footage is part of the latest drama in the case. In recorded video testimonies, two state witnesses, John Mutumba and Robson Matovu, say they gave false evidence against Male and company in court. They consequently apologise to the accused and other people they deceived, including First Lady Janet Museveni.