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Ugandan Police boss free of wife’s murder

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by ByaseL, Jul 29, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2009
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    By Hillary Nsambu

    THE Director of Public Prosecutions has withdrawn the murder case against the former Mukono district Police commander, James Peter Aurien, following the mysterious disappearance of a key witness.

    “I am instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw the charge of murder against the accused to enable the Police trace the whereabouts of the prosecution’s key witness, Helen Ruth Akello, who witnessed the incident,” the principal state attorney, Charles Kaamuli, said.

    Aurien, 58, who was an assistant superintendent of Police, was indicted for the murder of his wife, Christine Apolot.

    He allegedly shot her with a single bullet through the eye on April 20, 2008, suspecting her of having extra-marital affairs. Aurien denied the charges.

    The prosecution had produced three witnesses who testified in court and the case was due for further hearing yesterday.

    Kaamuli told the trial judge, Ssempa Lugayizi of the High Court, that although he had two witnesses in court; he could not proceed because the key and most important witness, Akello, had not been found.

    “This is a girl who was not only in the house but also at the alleged scene of murder at that very time of the fateful night and there is enough evidence that she witnessed all that happened before and after the incident,” he said.

    Akello was the deceased’s younger sister who lived with the couple in the same house. Kaamuli said they had put up advertisements in the press, asking for anyone who knows her whereabouts to assist bring her to court.

    “The withdrawal of the case is to give us time to find out whether our crucial witness is under unlawful custody or was made to flee the country. Once we get her, we shall resume the prosecution of our case,” he said.

    The defence lawyer, Norris Maranga, did not oppose the withdrawal of the case but only hoped that his client would not be re-arrested before the state witness was found.

    “Since the DPP has decided to withdraw the charge against the suspect, the court has no choice but to release the accused. You are now free, go” the judge said as he closed the court file.

    Aurien looked relaxed and carried a book suspected to be a Bible wrapped in a newspaper.

    Immediately after his release, Aurien was hugged by Arua Municipality MP, Akbar Godi, as he descended from the dock.

    He was also seen in intense consultations with his lawyers inside the court hall.

    At the time of the incident, the couple lived in their matrimonial home in Mukono with their three-year-old daughter.

    They had been married for five years. After the killing, Aurien allegedly put the body in his vehicle and dumped it near the Lugazi Post Office building, opposite the Police station which he headed.

    He fled but handed in himself. The Police recovered the vehicle he used in Bukedea, about 245km from Kampala.