COURT YESTERDAY sentenced former chairman of Uganda Medical Workers Union Apollo Nyangasi to life in prison for murdering his wife. Justice Jane Kiggundu of the Kampala High Court gave Nyangasi this sentence after he was found guilty of murdering his wife, Christine Nyangasi Dambio, on July 24, 2010 at their home in Kireka.
“The convict (Nyangasi) has no respect of the law; he has no respect for human life and human rights. Our society needs to be protected from such people. The convict deserves to stay away from society,” Justice Kiggundu noted as he sent Nyangasi to spend the rest of his life at the University of understanding. “So let him spend the rest of his life behind bars,” Kiggundu added. The judge also noted that Nyangasi as a husband and medical doctor, he was expected to protect his wife and not to be the cause of her death.
He added that there are marriage laws in Uganda which help settle such disputes and Nyangasi, if he was unhappy in the marriage he ought to have used them other than killing his wife. After handing Nyangasi this sentence, his wife’s relatives who had come carrying her portrait broke down in tears saying Nyangasi too deserved to die as he had killed their sister.
The court was filled to capacity as people from all walks of life attended. Nyangasi was early this week convicted of the murder of his wife after prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that with malice aforethought, he killed his wife after they had had several misunderstandings. “The evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses was strong and reliable and reflected that the accused (Nyangasi) committed the crime. Court is therefore satisfied that the witnesses were truthful and reliable despite some contradictions and hereby finds Dr Nyangasi guilty of the offence of murder,” Justice Kiggundu noted in her judgment.
The judge mostly relied on the evidence of Phiona Aguram a niece to Nyangasi’s wife Christine, that of Brenda Namugo a daughter to Christine and that of Dr Andrew Kizimula a senior government analyst and forensic scientist with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to convict Nyangasi. Nyangasi had vehemently denied ever taking part in the murder of his wife arguing that she had died a natural death owing to the fact that she had a history of Broncho-pneumonia, but in her judgment justice Kiggunddu noted that the evidence adduced by prosecution was more than satisfying to pin him to have killed his wife with malice aforethought.
Basing on the evidence of Aguram who testified that she saw Nyangasi strangling his wife in the latrine on the day she died and that of the pathologist who in his medical certificate of death stated that Christine died of neurogenic cardiac arrest though she had trauma and resolving pneumonia, the judge noted that she was convinced that Nyangasi indeed killed his wife. “As PW5 (Aguram) stated that she found the accused strangling the deceased, the neck is a very vulnerable part of the body and the hand when applied with force on it becomes a lethal weapon,” the judge said. She further noted that though Christine had a history of Bronchopneumonia, Nyangasi’s act of strangling her accelerated her death.
Although Nyangasi’s lawyer Ondiimu had objected to the evidence of Aguram saying it was inconsistent with her first statement at police, the judge disregarded his arguments concurring with the prosecution that Aguram might have left out certain things at the time of recording her statement at police since she was still in a state of shock after the death of her aunt.
The judge also relied on the evidence of Kizimula who carried out forensic tests on Christine’s nails and blood samples from Nyangasi and discovered that Nyangasi’s blood was found in the fingernails of his deceased wife something that indicated that there might have been a struggle before and Christine tried to defend herself. In his defence, Nyangasi raised an alibi saying on the fateful day, he woke up and went where his wife was sleeping in the boys quarters and told her to bring her matron to counsel her about the issues in her marriage and then left her but the judge wondered how Nyangasi, as he had earlier claimed that the wife died of Broncho-pneumonia, would have spoken to a sick person about such issues and in that tone.
The judge further noted that Nyangasi’s alibi was created just to find his freedom but he wasn’t speaking the truth. “The accused only raised an alibi because he found himself cornered and tried to lead himself out of the quagmire he was in,” Justice Kiggundu noted. She added that basing on the evidence before court, Nyangasi’s conduct before and after his wife’s death leaves many unanswered questions.
Kiggundu noted that basing on the evidence of Moses Higenyi a brother to Christine who testified that the family had constant wrangles, that of Aguram who testified that Nyangasi constantly threatened to kill Christine and that of the pathologist who point to his act of guilt. Nyangasi is alleged to have killed his wife after they had misunderstanding stemming from their family property and each partner accusing the other of offside romps. His wife was found unconscious in the bathroom and rushed to Mulago Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.