Said Athumani Aminani vs Republic (Criminal Appeal 506 of 2021) [2023] TZCA 168 (31 March 2023)

Case summary

Said Athumani Aminani was charged and convicted of rape, contrary to section 130 (2) (e) and 131(1) of the Penal Code, and impregnating a schoolgirl, contrary to section 60 A (3) of the Education Act as amended by the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016. He was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment for the rape charge but was acquitted on the charge of impregnating a schoolgirl. The age of the victim is not specified in the context.

Aminani appealed the decision, but the High Court dismissed his appeal on the grounds that it was time-barred, as per section 361 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). The court argued that the notice of appeal was lodged beyond the prescribed time limit.

Aminani then appealed to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the High Court erred in dismissing his appeal without considering his limited movements as a prisoner and the role of the prison authority in the delay of filing the notice of appeal.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Aminani, stating that the prison authority should be blamed for the late presentation of the appeal to the court, not the appellant. The court also found that the petition of appeal was lodged within the time limit, contrary to the High Court's ruling.

The Court of Appeal also agreed with the State Attorney that the High Court should not have dismissed the appeal, but rather struck it out, as the appeal was not heard on its merits. The court cited the case of Juma Nhandi v. Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 289 of 2012, to support this argument.

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, quashed the ruling of the High Court, and ordered that the matter be remitted to the High Court to be heard by another judge on its merit.

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