High Court quashes two-year-jail term for Kenyan national jailed for stalking DPP

Kenyan National Jared Oloo Okumu together with a prison officer at court.

Kampala, (UG): The High Court in Kampala has set aside the two-year jail term handed to a Kenyan National who was accused of offensive communication and cyber stalking the Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo.

The suspect identified as Oloo Jared Akumu was convicted by the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu on October 11, 2022, and sent to Luzira Prison.

He was found guilty of maliciously and repeatedly using his email address to harass Abodo- the Director of Public Prosecutions by sending threatening emails and attachments to her official email address

It is alleged that Akumu also sent threatening emails and attachments to the DPP’s official email address with no purpose of legitimate communication.

Akumu had reportedly threatened to print out Abodo’s photos and pin them on billboards across East Africa such that everyone including President Yoweri Museveni who is Abodo’s appointing authority could know that she is ‘a corrupt person.’

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The motive for Akumu’s actions is traced back to when he borrowed an unspecified amount of money and used his truck as collateral. Akumu is said to have disappeared for five years which forced the lender to sell the truck and recover his cash.

But, when Akumu returned, he filed a case of car theft at the Law Development Centre Court in Kampala. The accused money lender Deo Oguliti complained and the file was recalled to the head office where the  DPP found that the money lender had no case to answer and consequently closed the case file.

Akumu started sending threatening messages indicating that the Lady Justice had been bribed.

He was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted. Following the conviction and subsequent sentence, Akumu, through his lawyers from the Centre for Legal Aid led by Isaac Ssemakadde filed an application seeking revision of his sentence in the High Court.

He told the court that the lower court acted without jurisdiction coupled with a defective charge sheet when it conducted the trial by which the accused was convicted and subsequently sentenced.

Ssemakadde told the Court that Akumu was convicted of offences that had already been quashed by the Constitutional Court in a petition filed by Andrew Karamagi.

Ssemakadde further told the Court that the trial omitted particulars of the geo-location of the applicant, computer, data or program used in sending the alleged offending communication which contravenes some sections of the  Computer Misuse Act. He also accused the Prosecution of omitting particulars of the specific threat allegedly made by Akumu.

Today, Criminal Division Judge Isaac Muwata said that the suspect was convicted erroneously since the Prosecution failed to establish the location of the computer/electronic device he used to stalk the DPP and whether it was in the jurisdiction of Uganda.

“The location of this digital infrastructure and Google server were not disclosed by Prosecution Witness Number One in his forensic report. The Prosecution had all the resources to find such information and avail but they didn’t. I therefore find that there was no proof of identity and residency of the offending computer, program or data and the offender about the committal of an offense as brought under the Computer Misuse Act.

As such he has set aside the sentence saying that the particulars of the threats and harassment were not brought out in the charge sheet and ordered the immediate release of Akumu saying that there was a miscarriage of justice occasioned to him when he was convicted on such a charge sheet.

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Akumu had almost served the punishment and was due to be released from prison on Monday, September 11, 2023).

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