Mohamed Hamisi @ Bilali vs Republic (Criminal Appeal 300 of 2021) [2023] TZCA 195 (24 April 2023)

Case summary

This is a criminal appeal in the Court of Appeal of Tanzania at Mtwara. The appellant, Mohamed Hamisi @ Bilali, was challenging a decision by the High Court of Tanzania at Mtwara, which upheld a conviction from the District Court of Masasi. He was charged and convicted of armed robbery, contrary to section 287A of the Penal Code, and sentenced to a term of thirty years' imprisonment.

The crime involved the theft of a motorcycle, valued at TZS. 2,100,000.00, from Abdulrazaki Yusuph, which was the property of Razaki Hamisi Mmalinda. The appellant and two others allegedly attacked Abdulrazaki, a commercial motorcycle rider, and stole his motorcycle. The appellant was later arrested and admitted to the offence, stating that he had sold the motorcycle to another individual.

The appellant appealed the decision, raising ten grounds of appeal. These included claims that the first appellate Judge erred in law and fact in upholding the appellant's conviction based on uncorroborated and inconsistent evidence, disregarding the delay of the victim to report the alleged body injuries to the hospital, and upholding the conviction without the prosecution proving its case beyond reasonable doubt, among others.

The Court of Appeal found merit in several of the appellant's grounds of appeal. It noted that the victim, who did not know the appellant prior to the incident, failed to describe the appellant at the earliest opportunity, which dented his reliability. The Court also found a material variance between the particulars of the offence charged and the oral evidence adduced regarding the registration number of the stolen motorcycle. This variance was not cleared, and the charge was not amended as required, leading the Court to conclude that the prosecution case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The Court quashed the appellant's conviction, set aside the sentence, and ordered his release from prison.

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