Ramadhani Rajabu @ Kules vs Republic (Criminal Appeal 553 of 2021) [2023] TZCA 150 (28 March 2023)

Case summary

The appellant, Ramadhani Rajabu @ Kules, was charged with three counts: committing burglary, stealing, and committing an unnatural offence. He was convicted on the first and third counts and sentenced to twelve months and thirty years imprisonment, respectively. He was acquitted on the second count. His accomplice was acquitted on all counts.

The appellant appealed to the High Court, but the appeal was dismissed as it was deemed to be filed out of the prescribed statutory time limit. The High Court based this decision on the fact that the appeal was lodged 143 days after the judgment of the District Court, instead of within the 45 days required by section 361 (1) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

The appellant then appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that the High Court had erred in its interpretation of the CPA. The Court of Appeal noted that the time limitation for filing an appeal starts to run after the appellant receives a copy of the proceedings, judgment, or order of the trial court, not when the judgment is delivered or when the proceedings are certified as ready for collection.

The Court of Appeal also noted that the High Court had incorrectly relied on section 3 of the Law of Limitation Act (LLA) to dismiss the appeal, as section 43(a) of the LLA prohibits its application in criminal proceedings.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the appeal was lodged within time and that the High Court should not have dismissed it. The Court of Appeal quashed the High Court's decision and ordered that the appeal be heard on its merits before another Judge.

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