Republic vs Nelson Rupia [1991] TZHC 9 (11 June 1991)


Lugakingira J: On 18 August 1989 the accused was arraigned before the District court at Kisutu on A a charge of stealing by public servant c/ss 265 and 270 of the Penal Code. There has been no further progress in the case, the prosecution having consistently claimed that investigations were not complete. Meanwhile, the prosecution has been allowed to get away with adjournments as if no law B governed the matter.
As provided under s 225(4) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1985, it is unlawful with certain offences to adjourn a case for an aggregate exceeding sixty days except under the circumstances set out in paras (a), (b) and (c) thereof. These are: C
(a) At the expiration of an aggregate sixty days a case may lawfully be adjourned for a further period not exceeding a similar aggregate if the Regional Crimes Officer files a certificate in court stating the need and grounds for adjournment. D
(b) At the expiration of the aggregate in (a) further adjournment not exceeding the same aggregate has to be granted where a State Attorney files a similar certificate.
(c) At the expiration of the aggregate in (b), and if the DPP files a similar certificate, the court would further adjourn the case, but not for a period exceeding an aggregate of twenty-four E months from the date of the first adjournment in (a). When no certificate is filed ss (5) requires the court to proceed to hear the case or to discharge the accused if the prosecution is unable to proceed with the hearing. F
These are mandatory provisions and the court has no discretion in the matter. Adjournment granted in contravention of same is unlawful and, therefore, void.
In this case the accused was first brought to court and his plea taken on 18 August 1989. The court G had discretion to grant adjournments for an aggregate not exceeding sixty days. Since no hearing intervened after the plea was taken, I reckon that this aggregate was achieved by 17 October 1989. Beyond that date and since the hearing did not then commence, further adjournment required the H certificate of the Regional Crimes Officer. There was no such certificate and, interestingly, it is precisely on that date that the presiding resident magistrate purported to order further adjournment. I am satisfied that the order was unlawful and anything thereafter was null and void.
I have asked myself whether the Regional Crimes Officer can be I

A permitted to file a certificate now but the answer is no. There is no power to allow such a procedure at this stage because the only course allowed to the court is to proceed with the hearing or to discharge the accused. I therefore quash the adjournment order made on 17 October 1989 and the subsequent proceedings and direct the District Court to require the prosecution to call evidence B or to discharge the accused if the prosecution is unable to do so immediately.


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