Gulu court overturns ruling of woman accused of injecting baby with HIV blood

Gulu court overturns ruling of woman accused of injecting baby with HIV blood

Gulu, Uganda | URN | Gulu High Court has overturned a ruling in which Sylvia Kamuhangi, 32, a woman accused of injecting a six-month-old baby with blood infected with HIV/AIDS was found guilty.

Last month, Kitgum Chief Magistrate Hussein Ntalo Nasulu sentenced Kamuhangi to two years in prison.

Ntalo heard that Kamuhangi injected a six-month-old baby with the blood in December with the help of her co-accused, Grace Aneno, who was later acquitted.

According to prosecution states that at about 9pm, Eunice Lakot, the victim’s mother, had left the child with a babysitter before Kamuhangi carried him away to the bedroom as Aneno watched.

Ntalo said he had gathered enough evidence from seven witnesses, including the doctor who examined the child and tested Kamuhangi.

Ntalo, in his ruling, said he gathered sufficient evidence from seven witnesses including Dr Okello who examined the victim and tested Kamuhangi and found her HIV positive.

On Thursday 29th, Justice Stephen Mubiru overturned the ruling and acquitted Kamuhangi on grounds that the trial magistrate did not have satisfactory evidence to incriminate her.

Justice Mubiru said that one of the police officers who testified told court that the injuries could have been as a result of an insect bite, while the Doctor who examined the child said a sharp instrument was used to inflict the injuries.

Mubiru argued that to come to a conclusion that the injuries under the child’s armpits could only have been caused by pricking, the circumstantial evidence should have focused on either if some sharp object was recovered.

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The Judge further added that the evidence presented stopped at only establishing that the appellant knew her HIV status but no evidence that she used any instrument on herself which she exposed to the victim.

According to Justice Mubiru, knowing that a person is HIV positive is no reason to believe that they should or are capable of transmitting the virus except if an additional action is committed which exposes another person to an infection.

Kamuhangi ‘s lawyer Immaculate Owomugisha from Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET) said the ruling was a landmark to uphold the rights of people who are criminalized basing on their HIV/AIDS status.

Eunice Lakot, the infant’s mother and her relatives broke down in court after Justice Mubiru acquitted Kamuhangi.

Lakot said she was denied justice despite overwhelming evidence presented.