THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF UGANDA
(CORAM: ODOKI CJ, TSEKOOKO, MULENGA, KANYEIHAMBA, AND KATUREEBE JJ.SC)
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO 1 OF 2004
SUSAN KIGULA SSEREMBE}
2. NANSAMBA PATIENCE } :::::::::::::::::::: APPELLANTS
UGANDA :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: RESPONDENT
[Appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal at Kampala (Mukasa-Kikonyogo, DCJ, Engwau and Kitumba JJ.A) dated 5th March 2004, in Criminal Appeal No.167 of 2002]
JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT
The two appellants, Susan Kigula Sseremba and Nansamba Patience (hereafter referred to as the 1st appellant and the 2nd appellant respectively) were convicted by the High Court of Uganda at Kampala, of murder and sentenced to death. Their appeals to the Court of Appeal against both the conviction and sentence were dismissed. They have now appealed to this Court on a second appeal.
The brief facts of the case are that the 1st appellant was married to the deceased Constantine Sseremba. The 2nd appellant was a house maid of the Sserembas, and lived with the couple in the same house. The family had a two-roomed flat which had a sitting room and a bedroom. In addition to the 2nd appellant, the couple lived with their three children, who included Herbert Sseremba (PW6) who was aged about 3 to 4 years at the time of the murder. PW6 shared the same bedroom with the couple and witnessed the murder of the deceased.
The murder occurred during the night of 9th July 2000, at around 2.30 a.m while the family was sleeping in their flat. According to PW6, he saw the 1st appellant cut the neck of the deceased while 2nd appellant was holding the legs of the deceased. PW6 had earlier in the day seen the 1st appellant bring a panga wrapped in a polythene bag and hide it under their bed.
After cutting the deceased, both appellants ran out of the house leaving behind the panga and the three children in the house. The first appellant ran out naked shouting that thieves had attacked the family and killed the deceased. Her body was covered with blood which was flowing from a cut wound which she had on the right side of her neck. She ran to a drinking place called Sunset where she was given some clothing and later taken to Mulago Hospital for treatment. The second appellant who was dressed in a nightgown stayed outside the house shivering and crying.
The same night the neighbours who answered the alarm including the couple’s landlady (PW7) found the deceased lying dead on the floor of the house with a cut wound. A blood stained panga was found in the door way to the bedroom of the house. The external door of the house was intact and the key to it was found in the lock on the inside of the door.
Both appellants denied the offence. The first appellant pleaded that she had been cut with something she did not see and ran out of the house realizing that she had been cut, leaving the deceased lying on the floor. She denied killing her husband and claimed that PW6 had been coached by Jane Ndagire (PW3) the deceased’s mother to implicate her because she did not approve of her marriage to the deceased. The second appellant claimed that she had seen a man running away from the house followed by a woman.
The trial judge believed the prosecution evidence and dismissed the defence as lies. He accepted the evidence of PW6, who was aged about 6 to 7 years at the time of trial and who gave un-sworn evidence implicating both appellants. The trial Judge found sufficient circumstantial evidence to corroborate