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High Court Demands Appearance of Allegedly Tortured 10-Year-Old in Case Against American Couple

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The High Court has issued an order demanding the presence of a 10-year-old child, allegedly subjected to torture by an American couple, after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was instructed to produce the child.

Nicholas and Mackenzie Spencer were apprehended in December 2022 following a report made by the child’s nanny at an institution for disabled children. The distressing report detailed accounts of “repeated inhuman and inappropriate treatment” suffered by the child.

This directive, declared on October 30, 2023, by Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha, emphasized the necessity to evaluate the child’s condition before validating a plea deal agreement inked by the accused couple and the DPP’s office.

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On the same day, the Spencers presented an agreement in which they pleaded guilty to an amended charge sheet alleging cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, and the husband’s charge of child neglect. However, the court could not ratify the agreement due to the absence of the child, who had been relocated to a foster home during the investigative process.

Lady Justice Komuhangi instructed the prosecution, led by State Attorney Lillian Omar, to ensure the child’s appearance in court by the following Tuesday. David Mpanga, the defense counsel for the accused, did not contest the prosecutor’s submissions.

Mpanga highlighted that through the plea deal, his clients were fully aware of the implications of relinquishing their constitutional rights.

Allegations against the Spencers involve the continual torture of the foster child between 2020 and 2022, which drew the attention of neighbors in Naguru, leading to a report to Kampala Metropolitan Police.

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The couple, originally from South Carolina, arrived in Uganda in 2017 as volunteers, as per police reports from 2022, and have stayed in the country since without a valid visa. Moreover, the Spencers are accused of fostering three children from Jinja City’s Welcome Ministry, including the child allegedly subjected to mistreatment.

After their volunteering stint, the couple transitioned to a private company and relocated to Upper Naguru, a neighborhood in Kampala.

The ongoing legal proceedings underscore the imperative need for the child’s testimony in court, emphasizing the gravity of the accusations and the necessity for a comprehensive and just resolution in this distressing case involving the welfare of a minor.

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