Man jailed 11 months for murdering wife

GULU- Gulu High Court Resident Judge Margaret Mutonyi on Wednesday sentenced a 52-year- old man to 11 months in prison for killing his wife.

Court reached the decision after the accused, the deceased’s relatives and the state prosecutor entered a plea bargain deal that saw his sentence reduced from murder to manslaughter.

The accused, Mr Ensio Ocan, a resident of Lamingonen village in Omiya Pacwa parish, Agago District, killed his wife, Ms Matide Layet, on February 9 after picking a quarrel over Shs20,000.

Upon arrest, he was charged with murder and consequently remanded at Gulu Central Prison.

Appearing in an open court session before the judge, Mr Ocan admitted he committed the offence after charges were read to him by Justice Mutonyi.

Resident Senior State Attorney Patrick Omiya told court that the suspect had taken on plea bargain because the crime he committed was not intentional and that he had eight children who were suffering at home.

“My Lord, it is from the background of the crime committed that we wish to reduce the indictment against the suspect from murder to manslaughter. We conducted a process of plea bargain between us, the prosecution, suspect’s aocates, relatives of deceased and we agreed on a jail term of 11 months,” said Mr Omiya.

Justice Mutonyi in her ruling argued that because of the plea bargain, the accused will waive off some of his constitutional rights.

The open court session, the first of its kind in Gulu District, was organised by Justice and Constitutional Affairs ministry aimed at educating the masses on court processes.

Plea bargain was launched in northern Uganda by Principal Judge, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine in June this year at Gulu High Court. It has helped reduce congestion in prison cells.

Statistics indicate that of the more than 41,000 inmates in Uganda prisons today, only 18,000 are convicts while the rest have been committed to courts awaiting trial.