High Court confirms death sentence on Bukoba teacher

ATTEMPTS by a former teacher at Kibeta Primary School, in Bukoba Municipal Council to avoid a hangman’s noose failed after the High Court confirmed the murder charge and sentenced him to death by hanging.

Respicius Mutazangira (51), was earlier convicted of murder by Judge Lameck Mlacha but had filed a Criminal Appeal No. 70 of 2019 to the Court of Appeal.

The upshot of the foregoing is that the assessors were not properly addressed for them to correctly give their opinions in the case.  In other words, they were deprived of their right to express their opinions as required of them under Section 298(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

The Court of Appeal nullified the proceedings, quashed the judgment and conviction that followed and set aside the sentence meted out to the appellant. The Appellate Court then directed a retrial of the case.

During the retrial under Criminal Sessions Case No. 56 of 2019, the prosecution side led by Senior State Attorney Ms Judith Mwakyusa and State Attorney Yusuf Mapera called a total of seven witnesses to prove the murder charge.

The accused (Mutazangira), on the other hand, enjoyed the representation of Advocates Projestus Mulokozi and Dastan Mjaki.  The defendant defended himself under oath and he neither called witnesses nor submitted documents to substantiate his defence.

Judge Monica Otaru noted that all the three ingredients necessary in proving the offence of murder against the accused had been proved in the affirmative… whether the deceased died from unnatural cause, whether the death was a result of unlawful act or omission by the accused and whether malice aforethought was involved.

The court was told during the hearing of the murder case that Mutazangira murdered Sperius Eradius, a Standard Five pupil, on August 27th, 2018. One of the teachers at Kibeta Primary School identified as Hallieth Gerald complained that she had lost her wallet and offered 5,000/- incentive to anyone who could recover the wallet.

According to the evidence, two pupils named the late Sperius as the pupil who had stolen the wallet. The matter was later informed to Mutanzangira, a disciplinary teacher, who tortured the pupil for more than three hours from 8.00 am-11 am, using a piece of firewood until when the pupil lost consciousness.

He was rushed to the Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital by his guardian (Happiness Tinkaligaire), but was pronounced dead.

Dr Kahima Jackson (PW7), a Pathologist from Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) in Mwanza City, who conducted a second postmortem, testified that the cause of death was neurogenic shock that resulted from a blunt object.

Judge Otaru noted that the injuries inflicted were fatal while the accused (Mutazangira) did not show even an inch of care about the results of his diabolic actions.

“The torture the deceased pupil (Sperius) sustained must have been of excruciating horror.

Each link in the chain of events as narrated by the prosecution witnesses, does lead to the irresistible conclusion that non-other than the injuries inflicted upon the deceased   caused his death”, the judge concluded.

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