Portuguese National Accused of Aggravated Child Trafficking Seeks Bail

Carlos Alberto De Almesia E Costa, a Portuguese national facing charges of aggravated child trafficking, has applied for bail before the International Crimes Division of the High Court. On Tuesday, he appeared before Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire, who scheduled his bail hearing for July 24th, 2023.

According to the prosecution, it is alleged that between April 2020 and May 2020, at Busibante Zone in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, Carlos received and harbored a sixteen-year-old primary six pupil of Kira Primary School.

The prosecution claims that this was done by exploiting the victim’s vulnerable position or through the exchange of payments or benefits to the victim’s parents to gain their consent for the purpose of exploiting the victim.

Carlos is also charged with maintaining and harboring the victim in a forced or child marriage. The prosecution alleges that in August 2019, Carlos resided in Ntinda with his girlfriend named Sharon.

After their separation, Carlos moved to Najjera in April 2020, where he rented an apartment. It was there that he met the victim’s mother, who used to sell tea on the roadside with her daughters, and he became their regular customer.

In late April, Carlos reportedly asked the victim’s mother to allow her daughter to go to his residence and wash his clothes.

However, the mother suggested that Carlos brings the clothes to their home, where they would wash them and he can pick them up, as they had developed a friendship.

According to the records, Carlos visited their makeshift wooden home and considered it unsuitable for eating meals. As a result, he allegedly advised them to find another house at his expense.

They later rented a two-bedroom house for 500,000 Shillings per month, where Carlos, the victim, her siblings, and the parents lived. The accused occupied one room with the victim while the parents occupied the other, and they shared the kitchen. During their stay, it is alleged that Carlos would move from his bed to the victim’s bed at night, kissing her.

When the victim’s younger sister left the room, Carlos allegedly began sexually abusing the victim. When the victim reported the matter to her mother, she advised her to talk to her father.

However, when the father was informed, he remained silent. According to the evidence before the court, Carlos complained again about the size of the house and rented a three-bedroom house for one million Shillings. In this new house, each family member had their own bed.

However, Carlos allegedly continued to complain about being isolated from the children, and as a solution, the parents allowed him to share a bed with the children, where he continued to abuse the victim. It is also alleged that Carlos took the victim to Jinja one day and showed her explicit videos. When the victim refused to engage in sexual activities with Carlos, the matter was reported to the police, and Carlos locked the rest of the family members outside the house.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Carlos had written an agreement, which the victim’s parents signed. The agreement stated that he would marry the victim and pay the bride price of a house and a car within two years.

The prosecution, led by State Attorney Joseph Kyomuhendo, intends to present evidence during the hearing, including condoms and electronic gadgets, and Carlos’ mobile phone, which he allegedly smashed but was later recovered and submitted to the Government Analytical Laboratory for analysis.

Medical reports showing Carlos is of sound mind will also be presented as evidence. Carlos is seeking release on bail, claiming innocence, poor health, and the availability of substantial sureties. He has been remanded until July 24th, 2023, when his bail application will be heard.

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