A witness has told court that surgical instruments and seven towels were recovered from the body of Kenneth Akena, a child rights activist shot in November 2016.
The witness whose identity was concealed by court was part of the team that conducted a postmortem examination on November 13, 2016, a day after Akena passed on at Norvik hospital after allegedly being shot.
The witness appeared before the criminal division of the High court to testify in a case in which businessman Matthew Kanyamunyu and his Burundian girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari are charged with the murder of Akena.
The prosecution alleges that on November 12, 2016, along the Kampala-Jinja highway near Malik car bond, opposite the main gate of Uganda Manufacturer’s Association in Lugogo Nakawa Division, the accused murdered Akena by shooting him with a pistol after he allegedly accidentally knocked and 'scratched' Kanyamunyu's vehicle.
The witness told court presided over by justice Steven Mubiru that when they did the postmortem examination on Akena's body, they found two surgical instruments holding the lining of the intestines and seven towels all soaked in blood.
The witness said that there was bleeding in the muscle that separates the chest and the abdomen. According to the witness, they also recovered a black flat-topped bullet from the feaces within the rectum of the deceased. Such movement of the bullet from its point of entry to a distant place within the body is known medically as bullet emboli and is a rare occurrence.
The witness said the bullet had made an entry via the left side of the chest leaving a wound on the surface of the skin. The witness added that the bone breast was broken, voice box swollen, lungs had collapsed adding that the large intestines had been operated by cutting into two and stitching together.
On the external part of the body, the witness said that the skin was peeling off, adding that Akena had also been pricked with needles on the front of his left elbow.
"Akena had bitten his teeth tightly and in front of the abdomen was an operation wound stitched with nylon stitches", said the witness.
The witness further testified that Akena died of hemorrhagic shock and gunshot injuries. Meanwhile, the trial could not proceed after Munangwari raised concern about the fluency of the French interpreter presented by court. Munangwari requested for a French interpreter claiming she doesn't understand English, the language being used in court.
As such justice Mubiru adjourned the case to February 4 and ordered the registrar of the criminal division to look for a more fluent interpreter.
Meanwhile, there was anxiety earlier in court when the presiding judge banned all forms of recording gadgets. As prosecution presented its fifth witness, state prosecutor led by Jonathan Muwaganya asked court to allow their witness to testify without being recorded.
He asked court to ask all those with recording gadgets not to use them due to the safety concerns of the witness whose identity wasn’t disclosed. However the defense lawyers led by Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng and McDusman Kabega challenged the request.
In his ruling, justice Mubiru allowed the prosecution request and asked all those with recording gadgets including mobile phones, cameras and recorders to keep them away, saying they would be confiscated. He directed security officers to keep watch and ensure that the audience complies with the orders.
Justice Mubiru also ruled the witness not to reveal his identity, place of work, residency or anything else that can expose his identity. He also issued directives barring anyone from stepping out of the courtroom until the witness had completed his testimony and left court premises.
He asked those who wanted to leave before the witness takes the stand to do so on condition that they don’t return and leave behind their phones. Earlier on, the defense team cross-examined Robert Mutebi the security guard from Nakasero hospital who testified on behalf of the prosecution on his testimony.
Mutebi earlier told court that he saw the suspects hiding away the alleged killer pistol. According to Mutebi, Mathew called his brother Joseph Kanyamunyu and handed him the pistol in the hospital parking lot before driving away in a haste. Joseph is currently hospitalised and is charged with being an accessory after the fact when he allegedly hid away the alleged killer pistol.