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Court of Appeal quashes serial killer Arinaitwe's life sentence

Richard Arinaitwe

Richard Arinaitwe

The Court of Appeal has quashed the life sentence handed to serial killer, Richard Arinaitwe for murdering American volunteer, Cecelia Goetz.

A panel of three Court of Appeal Justices comprising Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Helen Obura and Elizabeth Musoke has set aside the life sentence and instead handed Arinaitwe a 30-year jail term.    

However, they deducted five years and three months Arinaitwe spent on remand from 1998 to 2003 when he was convicted. The justices directed prison authorities to start counting the remaining 24 years and nine months from 2003. 

This implies that Arinaitwe will now only serve eight years since he has been in jail for sixteen years following his conviction in 2003 after he was found guilty of murdering, Goetz who was in Uganda to follow up on HIV/AIDS funds. 

High court Judge, Kagaba Rwamisazi had sentenced Arinaitwe to death. However, the convict benefited from the Supreme court judgment in 2009, which stated that whoever had not been executed after five years in prison should have his or her sentence reduced to life imprisonment. Arinaitwe appeared before Justice Joseph Murangira who substituted his death sentence to life imprisonment.  

Through his lawyer, Elizabeth Asiimwe, Arinaitwe petitioned the Court of Appeal to quash the life imprisonment sentence or reduce it. Asiimwe told court that Arinaitwe represented himself in High court presided over by Rwamisazi yet he didn’t have sufficient legal knowledge to challenge the evidence that was laid before court.   

She argued that if Arinaitwe had a lawyer, he would have been acquitted because the principal witness, Paddy Ssemanda made contradictory testimony and failed to place the convict at the scene of crime. Justice Rwamisazi sentenced Arinaitwe to death, arguing that there was overwhelming evidence including two pistols and a knife recovered from the ceiling in Kololo where he was hiding for about three months before he was arrested. 

The knife reportedly fitted perfectly into the sheath Arinaitwe forgot in room 321 at Equatorial hotel, now Equatorial Shopping Mall where Cecilia was stabbed 30 times. 

Asiimwe noted that if Arinaitwe knew the law, he would have challenged Ssemanda’s testimony simply because he reportedly told court in different statements that he first saw the convict’s face at Equatorial hotel but later said he hadn’t seen him.

Asiimwe faulted the judge for failure to evaluate evidence on court record and address his mind legally before delivering his judgment. She also told court that the record before court clearly shows that Arinaitwe wasn’t involved in the murder. She asked court to quash the sentence or reduce it. 

However, the state prosecutor, Nelly Asiku opposed the appeal and supported Arinaitwe’s conviction and sentence. He asked court to at least sentence Arinaitwe to 36 years in prison, arguing that he was given a state lawyer to represent him but refused and opted to represent himself.

In their judgment read by the Court of Appeal registrar, Jesse Byaruhanga this afternoon, the Court of Appeal justices faulted the lower court for failure to consider Arinaitwe’s age by the time he committed the crime. 

They noted that Arinaitwe was just a young man who was remorseful and had just joined Makerere University to pursue his Bachelors of Law degree. "

He was a young man and also a hardened criminal and his age was a very big mitigating factor, which was never considered at sentencing,” said Byaruhanga. 

The judge also argued that the convict needs a rehabilitative sentence so that he can go back to the community. The judges also considered records from Luzira Prisons indicating that Arinaitwe has participated in a number of rehabilitation programs, and is remorseful.  


+5 #1 Kikomeko 2019-08-08 18:45
Look at All these Names,Arinaitwe(He is with Us), Assiimwe, Rwamisaazi,Musinguzi..Kamasanyu..All these are Cadre Bottles made in Kyankwanzi University of Oppression.

Imagine RDC of Koboko to be Bainebyoona(They Own it All) as if there are no Alur..Wake Up People!!
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+2 #2 Akot 2019-08-08 19:52
And what did sister Dr Nyanzi do to be in mpisoned, locked away like an ungreatful migrant who abused hospitality the owner of Uganda, Museveni gave her?
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+5 #3 Akao 2019-08-08 20:54
Ok, observer you have to be factual in order for us readers to take your content seriously. After reading this article all through, I didn't find a reason why this person is refered to as a serial killer.

From my understanding a person is considered a serial killer if they have killed at least 3 persons usually without motives for the killing.my first reaction from reading the heading of the article is why should a serial killer not given a life sentence.
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-6 #4 Ngoga 2019-08-08 22:17
Quoting Kikomeko:
Look at All these Names,Arinaitwe(He is with Us), Assiimwe, Rwamisaazi,Musinguzi..Kamasanyu..All these are Cadre Bottles made in Kyankwanzi University of Oppression.

Imagine RDC of Koboko to be Bainebyoona(They Own it All) as if there are no Alur..Wake Up People!!

Helen Obura, Elizabeth Musoke, Cecelia Goetz, Nelly Asiku, Paddy Ssemanda: why do you ignore those? Is it because they don't fit in your demagogic agenda?

Western Uganda, which is comprised of several tribes, is a populous region; why is it wrong for its people to hold public positions?

You know that it's not a law that RDCs should be from a particular district or region? It would be to your advantage if you checked out the RDC list.
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+2 #5 rubangakene 2019-08-08 22:35
The Arinaitwes can't benefit from going to jail because they think they are beyond everyone; better to hang anyone who takes away three innocent lives for no reason.

Now we will be feeding and fattening him in prison with taxpayer's money.
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+3 #6 Lysol 2019-08-09 02:27
At some point he will pay for it. You cannot kill an American and get away with it.
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0 #7 Lakwena 2019-08-09 09:07
But what is it with the Arinaitwe of this country? E.g., in April 2011 one Afande Gilbert Arinaitwe almost killed Dr. Besigye at Mulago Round-about.

Seeing is believing, since this guy is visibly a psychopath; should he come out in 9 years and kills someone, these Judges who reversed the life and death sentence on Arinaitwe should be hanged in his place.

Like the Ssebalwanyi of this country; because they cause so much pain agony suffering and heartbreaks these type of people, it would have been better if they were not born.

They wake up in the morning and go to bed thinking and plotting how to harm others: Either physically, emotionally, materially and/or financially.

It is as if it is their birthright to harm others.
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0 #8 Akot 2019-08-09 14:13
Akao, thanks!

We are confusing ourselves to a point Akot is frustrated, makes so many mistakes in typing!

How will Ugandans behave after 2021 when they shall have assured Museveni of lifetime rule, thus ensuring his family business?

As UNITY against Museveni is impossible, Ugandans MUST not vote in mps any more; Museveni will then rule without our people giving him constitutional legitimacy in tribalistically ruling, thus affirming their tribalism to the outside world that will remain silent as to how the demon treats them!
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0 #9 Akot 2019-08-09 14:20
Kikomeko, agreed!

The wakening MUST BE by ALL, if Museveni is to be stopped from confusing & using us against one another to rule for life then his military son takes over!

As it is, Ugandans are clearing the path, giving no chance to opposition & Museveni/family will rule for ever!
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0 #10 Hudson Apunyo 2019-08-11 14:31
If the man is to gain from parole, it means he has finished his sentence.
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