Priest Acquitted of Defilement Charges After Five Years

Rev Canon Kezekiah Kalule, the former archdeacon of Luteete Archdeaconry in Luwero Diocese, has been acquitted of defilement charges after a lengthy five-year trial.

In 2018, Kalule was arrested on charges of defiling a 16-year-old girl who was under his custody. He was charged with aggravated defilement contrary to sections 129(3) and (4)(C) of the penal code.

The victim, who was a pupil at Luteete primary school has since given birth to a baby girl. She was under the care of Compassion International, a non-governmental organization (NGO) affiliated with the Church of Uganda, and was placed under the reverend’s supervision by her grandmother.

Kalule was accused of sexually assaulting the minor twice a week between 2014 and 2018. On Thursday, Kalule, 68, and out on bail, appeared before lady justice Damalie N. Lwanga in Luwero for the judgment on the charges of aggravated defilement. During the judgment, justice Lwanga stated that the prosecution proved that the victim was below 18 years of age at the time of the alleged offense and that she had engaged in sexual intercourse resulting in the birth of a baby girl on August 8, 2018.

The judge noted significant contradictions in the evidence presented and inconsistencies in the victim’s statements to the police regarding her pregnancy. She explained that at one time the victim told police that she had sex with Emma Kalema and expressed disappointment that she had conceived yet they were using a condom.

“It was in her second statement which was recorded a month later that she told police how the accused defiled her repeatedly and it is the sexual intercourse in October 2017 that resulted in pregnancy. The victim must have told lies in one of the two police statements whose contents are contradictory so the accused must be accorded benefit of the doubt,” the judge observed.

Furthermore, the defense had requested a DNA test to determine the paternity of the victim’s child, and the results did not support the claim that Kalule was the biological father. 

“As rightly submitted by the prosecution, a DNA test is not required to prove a defilement case but in this one where the victim kept switching her position regarding the identity of the accused as her defiler and in connecting him to the paternity, the positive paternity would be useful as a collaboration of her evidence,’’ the judge observed.

Despite the recommendation of the assessor, Winnie Nambi, to find the accused guilty, justice Lwanga disagreed, emphasizing that the contradictions in the evidence were substantial and undermined the credibility of the victim’s testimony. The judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against Kalule beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted him of the charges of aggravated defilement.

After the judgment, Kalule, who chose not to testify during the trial, stated that he believed the case was fabricated by a former employee of Compassion International who had been dismissed from their position. He expressed no ill will towards the victim and requested that the church reinstate him into the ministry.   

“God has truly brought out the truth using the judge which I have always prayed for. I’m not going to follow them, God is the best judge,” said Kalule.

Kalule’s defense lawyers, Francis Karoro and Jonathan Wandera of AL Advocates, expressed their confidence in the case’s outcome, highlighting the significant contradictions that weakened the prosecution’s position. They hope that Kalule can now rebuild his life after enduring a five-year trial that greatly impacted him.

The state prosecution represented by Gloria Akello, did not comment on the judgment. According to the recent police crime report, Luwero district recorded a total of 166 cases of defilement in 2022, with 68 classified as aggravated cases.

Luwero ranked second among districts with the highest number of aggravated defilement cases nationwide. However, due to contradictions and inadequate investigations, convictions in these cases remain low.

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