Appeal Court orders release of suspected poacher

Appeal Court orders release of suspected poacher

THE Court of Appeal has ordered the immediate release from prison a suspected poacher, Geophrey Jonathan, who was sentenced to 20-year imprisonment for unlawful possession of five pieces of giraffe meat valued at 23.7m/-, property of the government.

Justices Augustine Mwarija, Ignas Kitusi and Rehema Kerefu ruled in favor of Jonathan, alias Kitomari, the appellant, after allowing his appeal he had lodged against findings of both Resident Magistrate's Court of Arusha and that of the High Court.

"We allow the appeal. The appellant's conviction is hereby quashed and the sentence meted out to him is set aside. He should be released from prison forthwith unless he is otherwise lawfully held," they declared.

During hearing of the appeal, the appellant had maintained that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses did not prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt and that the evidence tendered was tainted with contradictions and inconsistencies.

When determining the appeal, the justices noted that three exhibits, including the certificate of seizure, valuation report and inventory, which is a complete list of items, were admitted in evidence contrary to the procedure.

In the first place, they observed, when the prosecution sought to tender the three documents, the appellant objected to their admission. However, the justices said, the trial Resident Magistrate proceeded to admit each of the three documents without considering the appellant's objection.

They pointed out that after having admitted in evidence, the contents of the three documents were not read out in court, contrary to what the law requires.

"It is trite principle that when a document is sought to be introduced in evidence, three important functions must be performed by the court, clearing the document for admission, actual admission and finally, to ensure that the same is read out in court," the justices said.

Referring to some decided cases, they said that the essence of reading out the document is to enable the accused person to understand the facts contained therein in order to make an informed defence. The justices said that failure to read the contents is fatal irregularity.

In the circumstances, they agreed with the prosecution that the exhibits which were wrongly admitted in evidence deserve to be expunged from the record.

"Thus, we accordingly hereby do so. Since the documents which we have obliterated from the record formed the crux of the prosecution evidence, the effect of the expungement is that the prosecution case crumbles," the justices ruled.

On January 21, 2014 the police at Longido, through one police officer, received information from the Longido District Game Officer that wildlife meat was being sold in a certain house at Madukani street, famously known as Methodox street within Longido township.

The Officer Commanding Station (OCS) ordered such policeman together with another to go to the scene with a view of arresting those who were selling the suspected meat. The two police officers were accompanied by another Game Officer as well as the District Game Officer.

Having arrived at the suspected house and after involving the ten-cell leader, the said officers conducted a search in the house in question and found in one of the rooms, many buckets, one of which had meat which was identified to be of giraffe valued later at 23,775,000/-.

After his arraignment, the appellant denied the charge. He testified that until the material date, he was working as a mason at NHC construction site in Longido. It was his evidence that he used to reside at the construction site as he neither had a house nor a rented premise at Longido.

He defended that on January 12, 2014 which was on a Sunday, while in the company of his girlfriend, he met one person called Max. The said person accused him of having an affair with his girlfriend, as it appeared the girl was Max's former lover.

Records show that on January 18, 2014 when the appellant and Max met at the market area, a fight ensued between them.  Despite being separated by people who were at that area, Max, whom the appellant learnt later that was working with the Wildlife Department, promised he would fix him.

It was the appellant's further evidence that on January 21, 2014, a friend of his, with whom they were working at the construction site, asked to offer him a lift. The appellant carried that person on his bicycle to his home.

When he arrived at that person's house, he saw a motorcycle parked outside. On that motorcycle, he saw Max and another person. According to the appellant, Max told him that the most awaited day of dealing with him had come.

Shortly thereafter, he was severely beaten and subsequently arrested and taken to the police station where the charge against him was prepared.

President Samia: Tanzania borders intact, no centimeter of land lost

SIXTY years after Tanzania attained its independence from British ...


Post your comments



Recent Posts


more headlines in our related posts

latest # news