Catholic Priest, three others sentenced

Bishop Christian Carlassare/Courtesy photo

By Adia Jildo

The high court in Juba has convicted a catholic priest for 7 years in prison over the shooting of bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese. The other three locals who allegedly participated in the shooting of bishop-elect were also convicted.

After almost a year of the shooting of Bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese, four people have been found guilty, Father John Mathiang, Samuel Maker, Morris Sebit and Laat Makur Agok were said to be involved and had planned for the shooting of the bishop-elect in his residence on the 26th April 2021 night.

During a hearing at a high court quota session in Juba, the High court Judge, Alexander Sabor Subek said evidence got were true that the convicted persons had hands in the shooting of the bishop. He said that the case is against Penal Code Act 2008 and 335, sub section 334 section 5.

The three were sentenced in different years based on the amount contributed towards the shooting. According to the high court judge, Samuel Maker has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for violating Penal Code Act 2008 Article 140 Sub Section 1; Morris Sebit and Laat Makur were sentenced to 4 years in prison over violation of Penal Code Act 2008, Sub Section 334 Article 72.

The defendant lawyer of the three, Malith Mading however disagreed with the decision taken by the high court, saying that the findings of the Judge Alexander on Father John Mathiang and Samuel Maker were not weighty.

“The findings were not based on any laws or evidence. As far as the law is concerned, you cannot convict an accused person on the evidence of the accused person because these evidences were not presented by any prosecution team,” he said.

Malith stated that they are ready to appeal, since the fifth accused was not cross examined to determine his validity about what he had said.

He said that cases of the confessions by accused as less valued and weaker evidences that cannot be used against another accused.

“The main judge, though he is entitled to his judgments or opinion, we disagree with him and we will appeal it, chances for mitigation factors were not given to the accused,” he said.

Christian Carlassare, 44-year-old bishop who was appointed by Pope Francis in March 2021. He had been serving in the Diocese of Malakal as Vicar general of the Diocese of Malakal. Carlassare was later ordained as bishop of Catholic Diocese of Rumbek on the 25th March 2022 after his treatment from the gunshot wounds.

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