JAILED RMG Independent End Time Message church leader Robert Martin Gumbura’s bid to secure temporary freedom pending his appeal against conviction and the 40-year effective prison term yesterday hit a snag after High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa dismissed the application.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
In his 17-page judgment, the judge bemoaned the leniency exercised by regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya in passing sentence, saying the man of cloth ought to have been severely punished for his crimes.
In March this year, Gumbura was slapped with a 50-year jail sentence after he was found guilty on four counts of rape and one of possessing pornographic material, but 10 years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
“The applicant’s moral blameworthiness is high and merits severe punishment. This may well have been a case that deserved to be referred to the High Court for sentence for purposes of precedence . . . I would, therefore, hold that there are no
prospects of success on appeal against conviction especially the counts involving (the two complainants whose identity cannot be revealed),” Justice Musakwa said.
“The bulk of the observations I have made are not apparent from the trial court’s judgment. This may well be a question of approach to writing a judgment as opposed to total misdirection. However, the aspect of corroboration appears implicit in the trial court’s reasons. In short, one can sum up a pattern that emerged in respect of these witnesses.”
Commenting on the complainants’ way of living while under Gumbura’s care, Justice Musakwa said there was separation leading to isolation, conditioning or indoctrination, molestation and subjugation of his victims.
The judge said subjugation was in the form of threats of placing them in the hands of Satan.
Justice Musakwa continued: “Although the applicant (Gumbura) tried to demonstrate what he meant by making those curses, it is clear that those Biblical verses were never interpreted to the congregants. Therefore, the complainants could have genuinely believed the effects of the curses.”
The judge, however, said although there might have been doubt regarding the conviction relating to one of the three complainants, this was because the circumstances pertaining to that single witness were different from those relating to the other two.
“There is a possibility that on the first occasion, (complainant) may have been raped. Her evidence on that score appears to be credible. However, she appears to have acquiesced on the subsequent occasion. This is particularly so if it is considered that initially she was not residing with the applicant (Gumbura). She would visit the applicant’s residence during weekends during which she was then raped,” Musakwa noted.
The judge also held that the four-month jail term imposed on Gumbura on the count of unlawful possession of indecent or obscene material was tainted with irregularity as no reasons were advanced by magistrate Mujaya.
“It will obviously be interfered with,” Justice Musakwa said.