Jailed SFC Soldier Appeals Sentence in General Court Martial

Coporal Epidu being escorted from Makindye GCM

Coporal Titus Epidu, page a Special Forces Command (SFC) soldier who was sentenced to six months detention by SFC Division court has appealed to the General Court Martial (GCM) challenging the severe sentence awarded to him by the trial court as well as his detention in unlawful custody.

Epidu was convicted of conduct to prejudicial order where the state accused him of developing illegitimate relationship with Akello veronica, a wife to his fellow soldier, Sgt. Okiriya James in
December 2015 while at Jinja State Lodge

In his appeal submitted to the Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti chaired GCM, filed by his lawyer, Achiles  Lubega, Epidu says that a six months imprisonment is harsh to a first offender like him who didn’t waste court’s time during the trial by pleading guilty

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“On sentencing the appellant, the divison court erred in law and fact because the offence which my client was convicted of is among the minor offences highlighted in the UPDF ACT. On sentencing him, the two months period he had spent on remand were not considered” Lubega submitted.

Lubega based the submissions on the Criminal procedures 3rd Version as laid out by the former Chief justice Benjamin Odoki where he clearly stated that first offenders shouldn’t be awarded imprisonment
sentences except on grave offences or when the offences are prevalent in an area.

Epidu further challenged his detention in Kasenyi saying that “the UPDF ACT sec. 222 clearly states that all UPDF soldiers serving their sentences should serve from Civil government prisons or Military detention”, noting that in Uganda, Makindye Miltary barracks is the only military prison not Kasenyi where he is being held at the moment.

Counsel Lubega further brought it to the attention of court that Epidu’s detention in Kasenyi is an illegality which has been evidenced following the failure of the concerned officers to produce the
appellant for four consecutive times despite of the various production warrants issued out by the General court martial.

In his reply, the state prosecutor Maj. Samuel Masereka described the offence against which the appellant was convicted as one of the most serious service offences in the UPDF Act because it has a maximum sentence on conviction of dismissal from the army with disgrace which the second is among the top punishments provided for to any convict in the UPDF Act .

Masereka added that many soldiers have killed fellow soldiers and civilians after suspecting their wives to be cheating on them, pointing out the Rwakihembo incident and many others which have remained on the minds of very many Ugandans.

Court martial chairman has set October 3rd as the date to deliver the ruling for this appeal.


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