Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Hakimu Mfaume vs Republic () [1984] TZHC 43 (01 November 1984);

Law report citations
1984 TLR 201 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1984] TZHC 43

  F Maina J.: The appellant, Hakimu Mfaume, was convicted of arson.  He was sentenced to four years imprisonment.  Aggrieved by the decision, he has appealed to this court.
The only evidence against the appellant was that he had quarrelled with his wife and they went   G together to his wife's parents where the quarrel continued. The appellant is said to have threatened that he would do something to his father-in-law. He then left. About two hours later, his father-in-law's house was ablaze. The appellant was arrested and charged with burning the house. He denied the charge.
The learned trial magistrate held that the appellant must have burnt the house because of the earlier   H threats he uttered.  He cited the case of Bosco & Lucas Sungura v R. [1967] HCD n. 186.  In that case the appellant had specifically threatened to set the complainant's house on fire.  Shortly afterwards the house was seen on fire and the appellant was seen running away from the scene.  So,   I apart from the threats, there was evidence that appellant was seen at the scene running away from the burning house.  In the present case,

however, the appellant was not seen at the scene when the house was on fire. There may be strong  A suspicion against him because of the threats he uttered.  But suspicion, however, strong is not sufficient evidence to convict.  Anyone may have set the complainant's house on fire, and not necessarily the appellant.  The previous quarrels with the complainant should not be a basis for  B convicting the appellant without any other evidence.  The learned State Attorney declined to support the conviction, and for good reasons.
This appeal is allowed.  The conviction is quashed and the sentence is set aside.  The appellant should be released from custody forthwith unless he is otherwise lawfully held. C
Appeal Allowed. D