Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Ernest Joseph Nyatando vs Republic () [1984] TZHC 27 (27 July 1984);

Law report citations
1983 TLR 170 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1984] TZHC 27
Mnzavas, J.A.

Mnzavas, J.K.: In Kisutu RM's Court Criminal Case No. 868/1979 the Appellant, Ernest Joseph Nyatando, was convicted of stealing by Public Servant and being in I unlawful possession of offensive weapons c/s 265 and 270 of the Penal Code

and c/s 8(1) National Security Act, 1970. After conviction the trial court was, taking into A account the nature of the offences, of the opinion that a greater punishment should be inflicted for the offences than the court had power to inflict and it accordingly invoked its powers under section 5A of the Criminal Procedure Code and committed the appellant to this Court for sentence. B
Dissatisfied by the finding and order of the lower court the appellant has appealed to this Court. Arguing against the finding and order of the lower Court Mr. Ballonzi learned counsel for the appellant, submitted that the trial court erred in believing the evidence in support of the prosecution case, which evidence, it was argued, was full of C contradictions. It was the learned counsel's submission that the lower court erred in not accepting appellant's defence which, it was argued, was cogent and without contradictions.
It was also the defence argument that the decision to prosecute the appellant was contrary to the provisions of section 141 of the Evidence Act, 1967. It was submitted D that the appellant having been a witness for the prosecution was under section 141 of the Evidence Act immune from prosecution in connection with the same case.
Finally Mr. Ballonzi argued that the appellant is detained under the Preventive Detention E Act - Cap 490 of the laws for the same offences and that as such it would, it was argued, be illegal for the Court to punish him again for the same offence. In support of this argument the Court was referred to section 21 of the Penal Code.
In rebuttal Mr. Chiza, learned state attorney, argued that the decision of the lower F court was based on the credibility of the witnesses and the trial court was in a better position to assess the credibility of the witnesses than this court.
As for the argument that Biron, J. had no power to order that the appellant (who had given evidence for the prosecution) be charged with the same offences the learned G state attorney was of the view that the learned Judge had such power. In support of his argument the Court was referred to section 322 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The learned state attorney however concurred with the defence argument that under the provisions of section 21 of the Penal Code, the appellant cannot be punished again for H the same offence bearing in mind that he has already been punished by being put in detention. I would first like to deal with the argument that my learned brother Biron J, had no power to order that the appellant be charged with the same offence in which he had given evidence as a prosecution witness. I

The answer to this question is found under section 141 of the Evidence Act, 1967 which A says:
   A witness shall not be excused from answering any question as to any matter relevant to the matter in issue in any suit or in any civil or criminal proceeding, upon the ground that the B answer to question will incriminate... such witness... Provided that no such answer, which a witness shall be compelled to give, shall subject him to any arrest or prosecution, or be proved against him in any subsequent criminal proceeding except a prosecution for giving false evidence by such answer. C
It is amply clear from the decision of Biron J, that the appellant had incriminated himself when giving evidence for the prosecution. Having incriminated himself when giving evidence I tend to agree with the learned defence counsel's argument that the appellant D was, under the provision of section 141 of the Evidence Act quoted above, immune from prosecution. But as I have no power to undo the decision of Biron, J. I leave the matter at that.
Coming to the question of conviction by the lower court it is my view that apart from the E provisions of section 141 of the Evidence Act, there was ample evidence in support of the lower court's finding of guilty.
As for the question of sentence it is not all in dispute that the appellant, Ernest Joseph Nyatando, is in detention (under the Preventive Detention Act) for the same offences. F
Section 21 of the Penal Code says:
   A person shall not be punished twice, either under the provisions of this Code or under the G provisions of any other law for the same offence.
That being the statutory law I agree with the defence argument that it will be unlawful for this Court to punish the appellant twice for the same offence. Apparently, and as I have H already mentioned above, the learned state attorney concedes that it would be contrary to the law for this Court to impose another sentence on the accused for the same offence.
I am, under the provisions of s.21 of the Penal Code, unable to impose any other sentence on the appellant. I
Order accordingly.