KAMPALA – The Director of Public Prosecutions -DPP has instituted a fresh charge of aggravated trafficking against an American couple, previously accused of torturing a10-year-old foster son.
Mackenzie Leing Spencer and her husband Nicholas Spencer, who are residents of Naguru Hill, a Kampala suburb were earlier this month charged for torturing a minor under their care after a crime preventer alerted the police authorities, narrating how the minor would be stripped naked and ordered to sit on a cold tiled floor; sleep on a bed without a mattress. The informer asserted that the couple had installed a camera in the boy’s room to monitor his movements.
Evidence before the court indicates that the couple had three children under their care but tortured one, in retaliation to his alleged stubbornness, hyperactive, and mentally unstableness, which situation had reportedly forced them to administer harsh punishments as a way of disciplining him.
The couple was first presented before Buganda Road Court earlier this month, where the presiding Magistrate, Sarah Tusiime Bashaija remanded them to Luzira prison.
But when the couple returned to court on Tuesday for the hearing of their bail application, State Attorney, Joan Keko declined, saying she had new charges of aggravated trafficking sanctioned against the duo.
Prosecution alleges that the couple between 2020 and 2022 at their residence in Naguru, recruited, transported maintained, and tortured a vulnerable ten-year-old boy, contrary to the provisions of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009.
The accused persons could not plead to the charges because they could only be tried in the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
The Chief Magistrate, Tusiime further remanded the couple to Luzira prison until January 18, 2023.
Christine Tumuhairwe, a lawyer who was working with the caregiver to collect evidence against the couple, said that the boy’s punishments were administered following what she referred to as ‘a list of wrongdoings.’ The couple if convicted of aggravated torture could serve a life sentence in prison as prescribed in the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture act 2012.
All three children are now in the custody of the police in a temporary foster home as they await placement into another foster home.
Additional reporting by URN