Ms Grace Nabwami, a Makerere University Business School (MUBS) graduate who was hit by a stray bullet fired by a police officer in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb seven years ago, has been awarded Shs75million as compensation for the injuries she sustained.
Kampala High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana ruled that it is the duty of a reasonable police officer not to harm innocent civilians in the course of executing their duties of enforcing law and order.
“Prudent and reasonable police officers do not behave in such a manner of shooting aimlessly or randomly as it amount to carelessness. Such a police officer is liable for careless act since he is under a legal duty to take care of other persons in the course of executing the constitutional mandate of enforcing law and order,” Justice Ssekaana held.
“The defendant (Attorney General) admitted liability when they visited the plaintiff (Ms Nabwami) and when she went to make a statement at Kabalagala Police Station. They ignored or refused to give any medical care or financial support to mitigate the damage,” the judge further held.
Although Ms Nabwami had sought general damages of Shs200million for mental anguish, physical suffering and pain, body incapacity and inconvenience, court ruled that it was a high claim considering the nature of suffering she went through and expenses she failed to prove as special damages.
The court order results from a 2015 case in which Ms Nabwami sued the Attorney General seeking compensation for damages, special damages resulting from negligence of the police officer who shot at her.
Court records show that Ms Nabwami was exposed to the horrific incident in the wee hours of the morning of November 2, 2013 while at her home in Kabalagala Central Zone, a Kampala suburb.
It is her evidence that at around 12am on the fateful day, a police officer attached to Kabalagala Police Station, who was pursuing a suspect armed with a knife, fired a bullet that strayed to the plaintiff’s (Nabwami) house hitting her in the right neck area.
She was rushed to Nsambya Hospital in Kampala where she received medical attention. She sustained grievous injuries, which include a perforated oesophagus and being numb in the right upper limb, leaving her incapacitated.
Court records show that Ms Nabwami never got any help from the government in terms of treatment or compensation for what befell her, yet the officer in charge of Kabalagala Police Station acknowledged his officer’s actions.