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High court in Juba sentences Fr. John Mathiang to seven years in prison

High court in Juba sentences Fr. John Mathiang to seven years in prison
Fr. John Mathiang in Juba court responding to allegations of orchestrate the murder attempt on Bishop life

High Court in Juba sentenced Fr. John Mathiang and two others to seven years in jail after finding them guilty in the orchestrating the shooting of Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.

Fr. John Mathiang, Laat Makur Magok, and Moris Sebit Ater were convicted under article 334 and 335 of the South Sudan 2008 Penal Code Act.

Article (334, 335) read “house breaking by night define, “joint offenders punishable where death or grievous hurt is caused.”

The fourth accused Samuel Makur Mabor was also given five years imprisonment under section 104 of the South Sudan Penal Code 2008.

The high court judge Alexender Soper Subek made the ruling on Monday, saying Fr. Mathiang, and his allies intentionally planned to kill the bishop based on evidence gathered.

“What the first defendant did by inciting the second, fifth, and sixth defendants to go to the victim’s place of residence at night and try to break the door of the victim’s room and shoot live bullets at the legs of the victim causing severe harm, “Soper said.

The victim his lordship Bishop Christian Carlassare says the church hopes that truth might bring conversion and healing.

“On behalf of the Diocese of Rumbek, we acknowledge today’s verdict. We appreciated the commitment and dedication of government and court,” Carlassare stated.

The high court has given fifteen days for an appeal if the accused Lawyers are not certified with the decision.

 The defense lawyer Malith Mading refutes the ruling saying the judge has violated section 34 of the penal code evidence act.

He says he is going to appeal against the verdict on behalf of his defendant. Molana Mading said the court finding wasn’t based on any law or evidence.

“We disagreed with the finding of the judge. You cannot convict an accused person on the evidence of the other accused because the prosecution team did not present this evidence” said Malith.

He says his plead to the judge to use section 34 of the evidence act but they had been ignored and they are going to appeal to against the decision made by the high court.

In February this year, the high court in Juba started the trial of six people accused in the attempted murder of the Catholic Bishop of Rumbek Diocese after he was appointed by the Pope Francis.

His lordship Bishop Christian Carlassare was shot and wounded on both legs by a group of armed men who attacked his residence in April last year in Rumbek.

Lakes state authorities later arrested the suspects, including the priest of Rumbek, Fr. John Mathiang and five others.