Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Republic vs Fidelis John () [1988] TZHC 29 (13 September 1988);

Law report citations
1988 TLR 165 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1988] TZHC 29
Munuo, J.

Munuo, J.: The accused Fidelis John was charged in the District Court at Moshi with Criminal Case No. 346 of 1988 with the offence of escaping from lawful custody c/s I 116 of the Penal

Code. He pleaded guilty to the charge whereupon he was convicted and sentenced to 6 A months imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane.
The charge sheet in the record of the trial court shows the age of the accused as fifteen years. The doctor's report Ref. E.4/1 dated the 27.8.1988 states that the accused is aged between 13 and 14 years. In the circumstances the accused is a young person B under the Children and Young Persons Ordinance, Cap. 13 of the Revised Laws of Tanzania.
The interpretation section of the said Ordinace defines young person as follows: C
   young person means a person who is twelve years of age or upwards and under the age of sixteen years.  D
The accused falls in the category of young persons as defined above because he is about 14 years of age.
Under section 22(2) of the Children and Young Persons Ordinance no young person shall be sentenced to imprisonment if there are other methods of legally dealing with the juvenile offender. The material section states: E
   22(2) No young person shall be sentenced to imprisonment unless the court considers that none of the other methods in which the case may be legally dealt with by the provisions of this or any other Ordinance is suitable.  F
Alternative punishments for juvenile offenders include probation under section 18, absolute discharge, repatriation or committal to an approved school under sections 23 and 24 of the said Ordinance. G
The trial court had no legal justification to sentence the accused to 6 months imprisonment in the present case. The trial court ought to have resorted to the alternative forms of punishment provided for juvenile offenders. Accordingly the sentence of 6 months imprisonment is quashed and set aside. The accused is to be set at liberty H forthwith unless otherwise held for other lawful cause. The 6 strokes of the cane imposed on the accused meet the justice of the case.
  I Order accordingly.