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Prosecution Presents Evidence in St Benard SS School Fire Case Alternative Titles:


St Benard’s Secondary School in Mannya, Rakai District
PHOTO — The Observer — The minister for Education and Sports Janet Museveni visited the burnt school dormitories where she cursed the arsonists and delivered government condolence to parents and community.

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The prosecution has brought forth evidence against four individuals accused of setting fire to a dormitory in the ongoing trial related to the tragic fire incident at St Benard’s Secondary School in Mannya, Rakai District. The incident, which occurred on November 11, 2018, resulted in the death of 10 students and left 36 others injured.

During the recent court session presided over by Masaka High Court judge Victoria Nakintu Katamba, chief state attorney Noah Kunya presented a total of 50 documents as evidence to be used in the trial. These documents include postmortem reports of the deceased students, DNA analysis reports of unidentified bodies, police forms, and medical reports of survivors of the inferno.

However, defense lawyer Sam Ssekyewa contested one of the documents submitted by the prosecution—a report from the Police Ballistics Department—although the court ultimately accepted it. The amended charge sheet lists three accused students and one resident of Mannya, facing a total of 48 counts, including murder, attempted murder, arson, and attempted arson.

The accused individuals named in the charge sheet are Henry Taremwa, 18, Alex Mugarura, 18, Dickson Kisuule, 18, all students at St Benard’s SS, and Edison Niyo alias Edie, 22, a resident of Mannya Trading Centre. The prosecution alleges that on the fateful day, these individuals, along with others still at large, set fire to the school dormitory resulting in the tragic loss of lives.

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Furthermore, the court learned that the state plans to call upon four witnesses, primarily police officers and medical professionals who compiled the reports presented as evidence in the case.

Judge Nakintu acknowledged that although funds for the case have not yet been allocated, it is imperative to proceed with the trial in a timely manner to ensure justice is served. She emphasized the importance of the case and highlighted that all parties involved have agreed upon the exhibits to be used. Additionally, three court assessors were sworn in to assist the court in reaching a fair verdict.

The trial was adjourned to March 13, 2024, marking the commencement of witness testimonies by the state.

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