By: GEORGE MUZOORA
The Masindi Central Division speaker has escaped a two-year sentence in prison after paying a Shs2.5 million fine for assault.
Court presided over by the Chief Magistrate, Mr Jessy Byaruhanga, heard that Isaac Bongomin assaulted Cosmas Byaruhanga, currently the Buvuma District health officer, on February 24, last year while at St Jude Catholic Church in Masindi Town.
Bongomin, who was the secretary of the church parish council, fought with Mr Byaruhanga, the treasurer to the church committee, accusing him of stealing Shs200,000 from the offertory.
Prosecution told court that the fight took place at the podium and was witnessed by Christians who had gone for prayers that Sunday. Mr Cosmas Byaruhanga took the matter to court after the church leadership failed to settle it. In his ruling, Magistrate Byaruhanga said there was enough evidence to show that the complainant was beaten yet there was no proof that he had stolen the money.
Improper behaviour Court said since Mr Cosmas Byaruhanga was the church’s treasurer, it was unnecessary for him to be manhandled, instead Bongomin would have reported the matter to the church. Bongomin, who admitted the offence, requested for a lenient punishment after court sentenced him to a two-year jail term. His lawyer, Mr Moses Tugume, argued that his client has both family and office responsibilities that could not allow him to be away for a long time and requested court to sentence him to community service.
The magistrate, however, objected and told him to either pay a fine of Shs2.5m or serve the sentence. Bongomin did not have the money at the time and was taken to Masindi prison where he spent the weekend. However, by yesterday morning, Bongomin’s friends had raised the money and he gained his freedom. Mr Byaruhanga said he would have wanted Bongomin to serve a longer jail term so that it can be a lesson to others.