Matthew Kanyamunyu, the key suspect in last year’s shooting to death of child rights activist Kenneth Akena, was yesterday denied bail for the second time running and looked on as his co-accused walked to temporary freedom on bail.
He was taken back to Luzira Maximum Security Prison where he and his co-accused have been held over the last four months.
Police arrested and charged Matthew Kanyamunyu with the murder of Akena at Lugogo near Kampala in November 2016. He was charged alongside his girlfriend, Cynthia Munwangari and elder brother, Joseph Kanyamunyu, both of whom have been named accessories to the crime.
An application for bail by the three accused persons was first denied by the High Court in January this year.
Judge Yasin Nyanzi said he would not explain at length his decision to grant bail to only two of the suspects facing the same charge.
“I have noted that the charge sheet has a defence relating to accessories and because the accused are being accused as an accessory either before or after the offence, this led to the consideration of the gravity of the offence. I will not give a detailed explanation for why I have declined to grant Matthew bail . I will give the explanation on March 30,” the judge held while granting bail to Munwangari and Joseph
“My judicial mind tells me that the two can be released without fear and can return on their trial, since the State did not doubt the sureties, they can work to ensure these two come back to court,” the judge said.
The three accused persons presented their relatives as sureties. For both Joseph and Munwangari, the Kanyamunyu brothers’ maternal aunt Miriam Ssebunya, paternal uncle Julius Kanyamunyu, guardian Gad Gasatura and paternal aunt Patience Kaijuka stood surety.
The prime suspect, Matthew had his paternal uncle Moses Karuhanga, paternal uncle Timothy Musiime, maternal uncle Simon Muhinda and paternal aunt Stella Karuhanga unsuccessfully stand surety for him.
The judge granted bail to Joseph and Munwangari on four grounds. They are not to travel outside Uganda without permission granted by the judge of this court; pay a cash bail of Shs5 million; each of the sureties whose names appeared on the court record were bonded Shs50 million not cash and the two co-accused were also ordered to appear before a court registrar once every 14 days for three months. If their case is not fixed for hearing in those months then they should appear once in a month.
During the hearing of the bail application, Ms Immaculate Agutoku, the principal state attorney, strongly objected to the release of the trio on bail.
Ms Agutoku argued that the application for bail was being brought to court for the second time yet it was declined because the offence committed was of a grave nature, and that the accused had not given any exceptional circumstances such as grave illness, or advanced age to warrant their release on bail pending trial.
On the other ground that they have fixed places of abode that they relied on to seek for their release, Ms Agutoku argued that the fact that their places of abode appeared on the charge sheet, is no guarantee that they own the homes.
She argued that they are tenants who could shift to another location any time.
Defence lawyer Caleb Alaka, however, asked the court to release his clients on bail, saying applying for bail is a constitutional right, which should not be denied.
Mr Alaka said as long the court is convinced that the applicants will return for the hearing of the case, then they should not be denied bail.
He also told court that his clients had present letters from their local council areas, landlords and they indicated that they still stay and pay rent in the same areas.
Prosecution alleges that the three suspects on November 12 last year, while on Kampala-Jinja road near Malik Car Bond opposite Uganda Manufacturers Association showground in Nakawa Division, with malice aforethought, caused the death of Akena by shooting.