The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has slapped new charges against an American couple accused of torturing a 10-year-old boy.
The prosecution led by Ms Lillian Omara on Monday presented an amended charge sheet with two counts of Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading treatment before the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
Ms Omara also handed to the court a Plea Bargain Agreement that was entered between the accused couple and the DPP in the presence of their Lawyer Mr David Mpanga.
This was after Ms Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer through her lawyer Mr Mpanga asked the DPP to consider her under the ‘Plea Bargain Initiative’ where a suspect pleads guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment.
Ms Mackenzie is jointly charged with her husband Mr Nicholas Scott Spencer who is separately accused of Child Neglect. The two are out on bail.
According to the agreement, the DPP dropped the two earlier charges of aggravated trafficking in children and torture and instead replaced them with cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment together with child neglect, with the couple set to compensate the victim.
“The two charges of aggravated trafficking in children and torture against the two accused persons are hereby discontinued and the application to amend the charges is hereby allowed. The agreement has been admitted on court record and I want to see the victim,” Justice Alice Komuhangi ruled before adjourning the case to Tuesday.
The couple was committed to the High Court on March 16, 2023, over alleged charges of torture of a 10-year-old boy at their residence in Naguru, in Nakawa Division between December 2020 and December 2012.
Prosecution alleges that the couple between December 2020 and December 2021, at Naguru in Kampala, recruited, transported and maintained a 10-year-old by means of position of vulnerability for purposes of exploitation.
It further alleged that the couple also committed an act of aggravated torture contrary to the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012 against the minor, where punishment upon conviction, is life imprisonment.