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Molly Katanga lawyers turn guns on state prosecutor Wakooli

Molly Katanga being wheeled into court

Molly Katanga being wheeled into court

The defense lawyers of Molly Katanga and her daughters; Patrica Kakwanzi and Martha Nkwanzi have asked lead prosecutor, Samalie Wakooli to recuse herself from the Henry Katanga murder case over alleged bias.

Molly is accused of pulling the trigger that ended the life of her husband Katanga on November 2, 2023, while her daughters have been slapped with charges of being accessories after the commission of murder. The second day of the trial was characterized by legal gymnastics as the opposing sides presented their case. The day started with the prosecution's side applying to amend the charges sheet to include Katanga’s daughters as accessories after the commission of murder. 

The prosecution states that Kakwanzi and Nkwanzi with full knowledge that their mother Molly had murdered their father, attempted to help her to escape justice by tampering with valuable evidence that was necessary for judicial proceedings. They face additional charges of being an accessory after the fact of murder just like their co-accused, George Amanyire, the shamba boy, and Charles Otai, the family nursing officer.

Amanyire and Otai were charged with destroying evidence. The judge allowed the amendment of the indictment thereby allowing all the accused persons to plead afresh to the charges, which they denied. A team of eight lawyers led by renowned criminal lawyer, Macdusman Kabega and former solicitor general, Peter Kabatsi put up a spirited fight in court in a bid to fight off one of the lead prosecutors from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The defense team, which includes Bruce Musinguzi, Elison Karuhanga, and John Jet Tumwebaze told court presided over by justice Isaac Muwata that Wakooli is likely to be part of the defense witnesses. Wakooli who was in the company of state attorneys; Jonathan Muwaganya and Annah Kiiza had summoned two witnesses for the start of the trial. However, before the first prosecution witness was called to the stand, the defense shot up to ask Wakooli to excuse herself from leading the witness.

They contend that Wakooli prepared and signed the summary of evidence (indictment) on January 22, 2024, to send the accused to face trial in the High court. Wakooli reportedly alluded to the contents of a DNA expert report as one of the pieces of evidence to be relied on by the prosecution.       

The defense wants Wakooli to answer why the said DNA report which states that fingerprints found on that gun were predominantly from the hands of Molly was prepared and dated April 30, 2024, when its alleged contents were already being talked about by Wakooli in the summary of evidence before even the report was made. The lawyers state that this was prosecutorial bias and that Wakooli should testify and explain where she got the facts and details of the DNA report which never existed at the time of committal.    

"It's our contention that there is a great likelihood that there could have been a prosecutorial bias which resulted in a prosecutorial fallacy in this case. Therefore, my lord, we would need Samalie Wakooli as a witness to come and explain where she got the facts of paragraph 32 of the summary of the indictment, yet my lord at that time the DNA report did not exist," said Musinguzi.    

The lawyers argued that the professional conduct for lawyers states that no advocate shall appear in a case where he or she knows she will be requested to appear as a witness to give evidence whether verbally or otherwise in a contentious matter. They told the court that they had raised this matter with Wakooli in vain.

They therefore demanded that she recuse herself from the matter and prepare herself to appear as a witness instead. However, in response, the prosecution asked justice Muwata to dismiss the application on grounds that it was intended to merely delay the trial. Chief state prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya told court that the summary of the indictment is not evidence but mere information to enable the accused to prepare for trial if witnesses were called to prove the contents of the indictment.      

Muwaganya added that investigations were progressive and that there is no law barring prosecutors from relying on preliminary reports pending the authoring of final reports. He argued that the information that Wakooli included in the indictment was contained in the preliminary report.    

Muwaganya argued that the defense side seemed to know where the case was going, and it was divulging evidence not yet formally presented to the court, which would highly prejudice the court. He argued that if lawyer Musinguzi was having issues with evidential value, he could not just pass on the evidence to the court.   

He said Musinguzi cannot speak on behalf of those technical reports that he was giving out to the court in a casual manner when an expert has not explained them. Muwaganya said this is a criminal prosecution, where evidence cannot be passed on carelessly without going through the authors.

He objected to the lawyer speaking for a document when he was not a witness. Before that, the court appointed Sharon Mutonyi, Consolate Tabu and Simon Okong as assessors. The judge asked each of the accused persons whether they knew any of the appointed assessors and if they had any reasons as to why they should work as assessors.

The accused persons answered in the negative. Later the assessors took oath and they were told that they would listen to the evidence and give their opinion to the court on whether to convict or acquit the accused persons at the end of the trial. The judge informed them that their opinion is not binding, adding that the court can go ahead to make its own independent decision. Muwata reserved his ruling on whether to order Wakooli to step down from the case for July 9.

Comments

0 #1 WADADA rogers 2024-07-04 21:06
Well, i may be wrong but i think the defense is making this case to appear big whereas not.

If they want Samalie to recuse herself from the case, the DPP has so many state Attorney capable of prosecuting this matter, they should just expedite the hearing and have Molly exonerated, period, they dont have any aorta of evidence to pin her.
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0 #2 Lakwena 2024-07-05 08:42
Guilty or not guilty, evidence or no evidence!

For Hell and Heaven's sake, the whole truth nothing truth the truth, etc. the absolute evidence is: Mr. Katanga is dead and buried.

In other words, blame the gun culture ushered in by the bloody NRA/M leadership.

Else, let the two sides of the families be introduced to the Acholi Traditional Justice of Mato oput (drinking of the bitter herb) and they will have their peace of mind, and the late Katanga will also rest in peace.

If in doubt ask Kanyamunyo, who shot dead Akena (RIP) over a mere scratch of his car fender in Lugogo, a few years ago.

In a simple ritual, Kanyamunyo is now out of jail and I suppose he is now at peace with himself and at peace with the Akena's family members.

Life must go on! Leave vengeance to God!
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