THE Court of Appeal has differed with the prosecution for supporting an appeal lodged by a suspected bandit, Charles Nanati, who was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 30 years for robbing his co-pastoralists of over 7m/-.
Justices Stella Mugasha, Mary Levira and Ignas Kitusi ruled against Nanati, the appellant, after upholding both conviction and the sentence imposed on him by the trial court and subsequently sustained by the High Court on the first appeal hearing.
“We thus disagree with the State Attorney who submitted that the charge of the armed robbery against the appellant was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
All said and done, we uphold the decisions of the courts below and hereby dismiss this appeal in its entirety,” they declared.
During hearing of the appeal, the appellant had faulted the conviction, stating among, others, that he was not properly identified by the victims of the robbery, and the testimony of some prosecution witnesses was marred by contradictions and that the prosecution did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The prosecution had supported the appeal, faulting the credibility of the evidence of three victims of the robbery, who stated that they identified the appellant and yet they had to participate in an identification parade, where they were required to identify him.
Another appellant’s position in support of the prosecution related to the contradiction of the witnesses in relation to his arrest, and when the victims went to the police station to report the robbery event.
The prosecution had, thus, concluded that the case against the appellant was not proved.
In their judgment, however, the justices of the appeals court noted that it was quite clear from the record that the appellant was not a stranger to the victims of the robbery, he was known to them prior to the fateful incident.
“The evidence of those witnesses was more of recognition and thus more reliable. Therefore, without prejudice as correctly said by (state attorney), it is our considered opinion that there was no need of conducting the identification parade,” they said.
According to the justices, the evidence on record shows that the circumstances were conducive to the positive recognition of the appellant due to a number of factors, notably being well known to the victims of the robbery as their village mate, hence not a stranger to them.
They noted that the appellant had not covered his face at the time of incidence, hence clearly seen by the victims without any obstruction and that the incident occurred in the morning time, hence a situation to have clearly seen him and the distance between the appellant and victims was proximate.
“The time spent by the appellant with (victims) was sufficient to facilitate recognition. Therefore, having given due consideration to the conditions at the scene of crime, it suffices to say that, the identification evidence was watertight and there was no possibility of mistaken identity,” they said.
As regards to the contradictions, the justices agreed on their existence, but they were quick to point out that such discrepancies of the witnesses testimonies could not go to the root of the case, and were minor and neither impeached their credible evidence nor cause injustice on the part of the appellant.
Regarding the proof of the case against the appellant, they were of the firm view that the credible evidence adduced by victims of the robbery sufficiently proved that on the material date they were robbed by the appellant.
It was alleged by the prosecution that on June 9, 2014 at or near Diguzi village within the District of Morogoro in Morogoro Region, the appellant stole 5m/-from Mudie Kilumali.
Immediately before such stealing, he threatened the victim with a firearm in order to obtain the said stolen properties.
Furthermore, it was alleged that on the same day, place and time the appellant again stole 2,360,000/-Ngandi Almas’s money, who was accompanied by Emmanuel Shabala, and that also immediately before the theft, he threatened him with a firearm in order to obtain the said stolen money.