Uganda Court orders retrial of student accused of sending love messages to MP

Brian Isiko (L) MP Sylvia Rwabwogo (R)
Brian Isiko (L) MP Sylvia Rwabwogo (R)

The High Court in Kampala has cancelled the bail it granted to a YMCA student, Brian Isiko who is accused of sending love messages to the Kabarole District woman MP Sylvia Rwabwogo, so that he can stand trial afresh.

Justice Jane Frances Abodo ordered that Isiko be taken back to Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court for a re-trial on offences of cyber harassment and offensive communication within 48 hours.

Justice Abodo earlier quashed and set aside Isiko’s conviction and a two-year jail sentence on grounds that the trial magistrate illegally changed his plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty without following proper procedures.
While allowing Isiko’s appeal against both the conviction and sentence, Justice Abodo ruled that Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu ought to have read and explained the offences and ingredients to Isiko in a language that he best understands before recording his plea.

The magistrate’s court records presented before the High Court indicated that Isiko first pleaded not guilty to the offences but after MP Rwabwogo’s testimony, he admitted to having sent the love messages asserting that he wanted the MP for a friend to help him boost his poultry business.
It’s this partial admission that magistrate Kamasanyu had taken for a plea of guilty there by wrongly convicting Isiko and sentencing him, Justice Abodo stated.

Court at Buganda Road heard that Isiko between November 2017 and June 2018 at unknown places in Kampala used a computer to send love messages to the MP which he picked from lyrics and poems of famous international musicians like Don Williams and Enrique Iglesias.

MP Rwabwogo told court that the “obscene and profane” messages disturbed her peace.
However Isiko’s lawyer Ramathan Waiswa welcomed the High Court ruling and vowed to continue the fight for his client’s justice.
He added that he will file a production warrant for Isiko to obtain bail today.