Court name
Court of Appeal of Tanzania

Protas S/O Kagaruki vs Republic () [1987] TZCA 16 (01 November 1987);

Law report citations
1987 TLR 152 (TZCA)
Media neutral citation
[1987] TZCA 16

Omar and Makame, JJ.A. and Mfalila, Ag. J.A.:  Appellant was charged in the H High Court at Bukoba under Economic and Organized Crimes Control Act for being in possession of property suspected of having been stolen.  He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.  He is now appealing against both conviction and sentence. I
Appellant was a tenant in a house occupied by many people

OMAR JJA AND MAKAME JJA AND MFALILA Ag JA
including P.W.2 a  child of 8 years by the name of Waswa, her mother Belina P.W 3 A Yunus Waziri a militiaman and some bar maids.  P.W.2 Waswa stated that on 12.5.85 he was at home about 10.am when he saw appellant come out of his room holding a black bag and putting it against the wall of his room.  He then covered it with corrugated B iron sheet.  Appellant then went away.  Waswa then informed his mother Belina who told P.W.3 Yunus about the suspicious hand bag which was hidden by the appellant.  Yunus went and told his ten cell leader Abdul s/o Mushobozi to inform the police.  The police were immediately notified and they went to the scene and saw the handbag, they C opened it and found an Uzi gun with its magazine which had 19 rounds of ammunition.  There was also in the bag a police uniform which consisted of a shirt, trousers, belt, hat and its crown and five torches.  The room of the appellant was searched but nothing incriminating was found.
While the police and other people who witnessed the search were walking away to the D market the appellant was spotted and on seeing the crowd approaching him he took to his heels.  He was chased and arrested.  Appellant according to P.W.1 who arrested him said that appellant told him that he was running to the market to get his things he had E forgotten there, and as to whether he knew the handbag, he said to have told P.W.1 that one Marcel of Kamachumu whose whereabouts he did not know had entrusted him with the said handbag for custody and that he had put it outside his room and covered it with corrugated iron sheets.
P.W.1 denied taking a Phillips 4 band Radio Cassette, a tape recorder and turntable F from appellant's room during the search, so did P.W.3.  He too denied that any of the appellant's things were taken away by the police from appellant's room.  P.W.1 admitted on cross-examination that there was a make shift fence of old tin sheets outside G this particular house and anybody could steal the bag or could plant it there but according to Waswa it was appellant who Waswa saw putting the bag there and covering it with corrugated iron sheet.
The appellant in his defence stated that his job was that of repairing radios.  On the H morning of 12.5.85 a customer one Marcel who had brought him a radio cassette to repair the previous day, appeared at  his home with two companions.  Marcel enquired if appellant had finished repairing his radio and appellant replied that it would be ready in three days time.  Then they all dispersed he, appellant and his sister-in-law went to the I market, bought fish and gave her to take home to cook.

OMAR JJA AND MAKAME JJA AND MFALILA Ag JA
At 10.30 a.m. as he was returning home he saw a crowd and heard an alarm that was A the Fundi you were looking for.  It was a big crowd so he ran away in fear of his life.  He was chased and arrested and taken to the police station.  He was also shown the four Philip Band Radio Cassette, the tape recorder and turntable and he admitted that all these items were his.  He was then forced to put on the police uniform and was B photographed in it.  Appellant further stated that the items found in his room and were denied by the police P.W.1, and P.W.3 the militiaman to have been taken to the police were actually admitted by P.w.2 and P.W.3 in their police statements to have been so taken.  The police statements were on appellant's assertion that these items including the C five torches were taken out of his room by the police.
Appellant went further and elaborated on that aspect of his cross-examination of witnesses about the enmity existing between Belena the mother of P.W.2, Waswa, over D the allegation of theft by Belena against appellant's wife.  P.W.3 admitted that there was such an allegation of theft which culminated in the arrest of appellant's wife as well as the friend and guest of P.W.3's wife.  So we say the enmity between P.W.2 Waswa's mother and the appellant may well have existed.  And the suggestion by the E appellant in his Memorandum of Appeal that Waswa could have been tutored by his mother to start the ball rolling about the black bag so to speak, and later to be taken up by the elder tenants living in the house, may have some force.  Especially if it is remembered that Waswa was prevented by the court being cross-examined, it being F argued by the court that his evidence was given not on oath only in the case accused person giving their evidence not on oath can they now according to Criminal Procedure Act sec. 293(3) be cross-examined.  The trial judge obviously erred here.  The unsworn evidence of the boy Waswa could be cross-examined as well, as a matter of trite law. G
After all his evidence as a witness affects the fortunes of the accused person and so must be tested by cross-examination.
Appellant's plea as gathered from his evidence and his memorandum of appeal is as follows: H
   (a)   That he did not put the bag there
   (b)   Waswa was tutored to say what he did but he did not see the appellant putting the bag against the wall and hiding it. I
   (c)   Appellant was not allowed to cross-examine. Waswa on

OMAR JJA AND MAKAME JJA AND MFALILA Ag JA
      the various matters connected with enmity between her mother and appellant A which could have shown how appellant was framed and how Waswa was tutored.
   (d)   The police took his radio taperecorder, turntable and torches and there is evidence to establish this fact and yet the police P.W.1 and the militiaman B P.W.3 his fellow tenant denied in court that these articles were ever removed from his room.  In hiding this fact of the missing articles the police after discharging the appellant's colleagues who had been in custody for 1 year and 4 months for the same offence had to decide to go ahead with the C prosection of appellant.
   (e)   P.W.1 D/C Exavey admitted in cross-examination that "there is a makeshift fence of old tins sheets.  Anybody could steal from it and anybody could have planted the bag there". D
   (f)   The opening of the bag and the search of appellant's room were all done in his absence.
   (g)   That the house is accessible to many outsiders who go in search of favours of bar maids living there or of appellant's services as a radio repairer.  It is not E strictly a private house, it is more of a public place.
We cannot ignore the fact of the argument in these grounds urged by the appellant.  We find ourselves therefore unable to accept the evidence of  this child Waswa as an eye F witness to the hiding of the bag by the appellant containing those articles found.  As Waswa is the sole eye witness, his testimony if it is doubted must destroy the prosecution case.
We find therefore the appeal has merit.  We allow the appeal quash the conviction and G order that the appellant be released forthwith unless otherwise lawfully held.
Appeal allowed.

A