Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Director of Public Prosecution vs Ophant Monyancha () [1985] TZHC 18 (15 June 1985);

Law report citations
1985 TLR 127 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZHC 18

Mwalusanya, J.:  The D.P.P. is appealing against the acquittal of Police Constable No. C.4458 Ophant s/o Monyancha who was acquitted by the Mwanza District Court for two offences of corruptly soliciting and receiving a bribe c/s 3 I (1) and 3 (a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act ,No. 16 of 1971.  It was alleged at the trial that respondent

solicited and received Sh.400/= from one Omar Aden as an inducement to him for A releasing the said Omar Aden on police bail.  The said Omar Aden had been in police custody in connection with the contravention of the provisions of the Immigration Act.
The said Omar Aden could not be procured as a witness for the prosecution at the trial B as he had apparently already gone back home to Somalia.  The prosecution, in the circumstances, sought to produce as evidence the police statement of Omar Aden under s. 34B (2) of the Evidence Act No. 6 of 1967 as amended by Act No. 19 of 1980.  The trial magistrate held that the police statement was inadmissible in evidence, as was C the other similar police statement of one Philip Joseph Tarimo.  In the final analysis the learned trial magistrate held that in the absence of the police statement of Omar Aden or his oral evidence, the prosecution could not succeed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.  So the respondent was accordingly acquitted.
At the hearing of the appeal the State Attorney Mr. Kidela conceded that in the absence D of police statement of Omar Aden or his oral testimony, the prosecution could not succeed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt.  However he argued that the trial magistrate erred in rejecting the police statements of Omar Aden and Philip Joseph Tarimo under s. 34B (2) (a) of the Evidence Act, as all the conditions for its admission, E were fulfilled by the prosecution.  So he concluded by submitting that had the trial magistrate not misdirected himself, a conviction would have been entered.
In my judgment I find that there appears to be a misconception looming large with the F Republic, as regards the correct interpretation of s. 34B (2) of the Evidence Act (as amended).  The State Attorney thinks if any of the conditions (a) to (f) of s.34B (2) are fulfilled then the Police statement is admissible in evidence.  Pursuant to that reasoning, the second ground of appeal in the Memo of Appeal reads: G
   That having made a finding that Omar Aden was out of the country, the trial magistrate should have admitted the same Omar Aden's statement under s.34B(2) (a) for the Evidence Act, 1967.
However the view held by the State Attorney is clearly wrong.  In order for a statement H to be admissible under that section, all the conditions laid down under s.34B (2) that is from (a) to (f) must be met.  That is the correct interpretation of that section.  On delving into the law reports and other materials I note that this legal point is not virgin soil as Lugakingira, J. had occasion to deal with the matter and he holds a similar view.  In the I unreported case of Dodoma High Court Crim. Revision No. 2 of 1983

of  R. v Hassan s/o Jumanne, Judge Lugakingira had this to say: A
   The provisions of s. 34B (2) are cumulative and all the paragraphs (a) to (f) have to be satisfied.  Hence to admit the statement, it must be reasonably impracticable to call the deponent; the statement must have been signed by him; it must contain a declaration of the B person who read it to the effect that it was so read.
So that is the position in law, and not what the State Attorney wanted the court to believe.
Now in the present appeal, the trial magistrate held that the police statement was not C admissible because the condition under s.34B (2) (c) was not fulfilled in that the statement did not contain a declaration on liability for perjury.  During the hearing of the appeal the State Attorney Mr. Kidela produced the police statement for this court to peruse.  On perusal I was satisfied that no such declaration on liability for perjury was D made.  The derelict was crucial as it is the one which at least lends assurance to the fact that the maker would speak the truth to escape prosecution for perjury.  Therefore the absence of the declaration was definitely fatal.  If we were to hold otherwise, a miscarriage of justice might result.  So I hold that the trial magistrate rightly rejected the admission in evidence of the two police statements. E
It would also appear that the condition laid down under s.34B (2) (d) was not fulfilled in that a copy of the police statement was not served on the accused before the hearing of the case.  It was only produced in the course of the trial when the prosecutor sought to F tender it in evidence.  That was clearly wrong and I think that irregularity was also fatal.  And the condition laid down under s.34B (2) (e) stipulates that the accused may object to the admissibility of the police statement within ten days of its service.  In this case as soon as the prosecutor applied to court to have the police statements admitted, the accused objected in the following terms: G
   The taxi driver (Philip Joseph Tarimo) has not left the country.  Omar Aden is not dead.  Let the prosecution make efforts to trace him so that he can come and say if I received the money H from him as alleged.  The statement of the witness may be false.
The objection to the admission of the two police statements could not have been clearer if the above abstract is anything to go by.  And as there was objection, the two statements could not be admitted in evidence. I
From the foregoing I am of the considered view that the trial

magistrate correctly rejected the admission of the two police statements.  It would have A been a travesty of justice if the two statements were admitted in evidence contrary to the rules of evidence.
Like the learned State Attorney I hold the solid view that without the testimony of the witness Omar Aden or his police statement, the prosecution could not succeed to prove B its case beyond any reasonable doubt.  This is because anything attributed to Omar Aden would be hearsay evidence which is inadmissible in evidence and cannot be the basis for a conviction.
In the event I hold that the trial court correctly applied the law in acquitting the respondent.  The appeal by the D.P.P. is hereby dismissed.
C Appeal dismissed

D