Court name
High Court of Tanzania

David Matengo & Kefa Wami vs Republic () [1985] TZHC 35 (20 November 1985);

Law report citations
1985 TLR 100 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZHC 35

Ruhumbika, J.:  This is an appeal from the decision of the F District Court of Dodoma which court enhanced the sentences of the two appellants before this court to imprisonment for a period of two years each from the sentences of fines of Shs.500/= imposed against each of the two appellants for the offence of unlawful wounding c/s.288 (1) of the Penal Code.  The appellants were convicted by the Mvumi GPrimary Court and sentenced as stated.  The trial court also ordered the two appellants to pay Shs.2,000/= each as compensation to the complainant.
The main ground of complaint in this appeal is that the District Magistrate who enhanced the sentences of the appellants erred in enhancing these sentences to two years because H that was in excess of the powers of the Primary Court as provided for in the Third Schedule to the Magistrates' Court Act, 1984 (Act no. 2 of 1984).
Under the Primary Courts Criminal Procedure Code, paragraph 2 (1) (a) as contained in Act No.2 of 1984, the maximum term of imprisonment that a Primary Court can impose I for an offence which is

not scheduled under the Minimum Sentences Act, 1972, is twelve months.  The offence A of unlawful wounding is not scheduled under the Minimum Sentences Act, 1972.  Therefore, under the provisions of s.21 (1) (a) of the Magistrates' Court Act, 1984 the District Court cannot enhance a sentence in excess of what the Primary Court could B have imposed for that offence.  This clearly shows that the District Court erred in enhancing the sentences to two years, which sentences are in excess of the powers of the Primary Court that convicted the appellants.
In addition to that obvious misdirection by the District Court, it was strongly argued for the appellants, and was conceded to by the Republic, that it was ab initio not justifiable C for the District Court to call the record and enhance the sentences imposed by the Primary Court.  This is because the thinking of the District Magistrate in enhancing the sentences was induced by the fact that the injuries sustained by the complainant were classified by the medical personnel who treated the complainant as "dangerous". D However, notwithstanding the obvious fact that the medical report classified the injuries as "harm" and not "dangerous", the order of District Court in enhancing the sentences talks of "dangerous" injuries.
As was held by the late (Sir) Biron J., in the case of R. v Juma Iddi [1971] H.C.D. E n.373 "the proper sentence to impose in any particular case is at the discretion of the convicting court.  A reviewing tribunal will not lightly interfere with the sentence imposed by such a court, unless the court misdirected itself in principle or the sentence itself is so manifestly inadequate to be unsuitable."
In this case, the trial Primary Court had the opportunity of assessing the whole evidence F brought before it and also to see the complainant's alleged injuries as shown on the medical report.  After that the trial court decided on the suitable sentences to be imposed against the appellants.  The Court sentenced each appellant to a fine of Shs.500/= and ordered each appellant to pay Shs.2,000/= as compensation to the complainant. G
This court does not find that the original sentences imposed by the trial Primary Court are so manifestly improper that they cannot be sustained nor does this court find that the Primary Court misdirected itself in principle on the sentences passed.
Therefore, apart from the fact that the enhanced sentences of two years by the District H Court cannot be sustained as they are in excess of what the Primary Court could impose under the law, this court does not see why the original sentences imposed by the Primary Court could not serve the ends of justice in this case.  The Primary Court, as already observed, had the discretion to consider the sentences and unless those sentences were I manifestly improper that they could not be sustained the

District Court was not justified in interfering with them. A
Accordingly, this appeal is allowed.  The sentences of imprisonment of two years imposed by the District Court against the appellants are  set aside and the original sentences of fines of Shs.500/= against each appellant are restored.  The Primary Court orders of compensation against each appellant remain unaltered. B
The two appellants have to be released from prison forthwith if not held on otherwise lawful grounds.
C Appeal allowed.