20 September 2017

Tanzania: Court Clears DPP On Drug Evidence

THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has won an appeal over refusal by the High Court to admit as evidence an envelope containing Heroine Hydrochloride valued at over 169m/- in the criminal trial of Lithuanian woman, Kristina Biskasevskaja.

Justices Mbarouk Mbarouk, Richard Mziray and Sivangilwa Mwangesi ruled that the exhibit in question was wrongly rejected by the High Court when the prosecution sought to tender the same as part of evidence in the trial through a Government Chemist, Mr Machibya Peter.

They allowed the appeal lodged by the DPP having noted that there was no dispute that the envelope with 3.775.26 kilograms of heroin valued at 169,886,700/- was addressed to the Government Chief Chemist, and Mr Peter, a chemist in that office, was the one who analyzed the same.

"We buy the argument of senior state attorney that (Machibya Peter) was in the circumstances, with full information and knowledge of the envelope and, therefore, a competent witness than anyone else to tender in court the envelope and its contents," they said.

The justices ordered the record of proceedings to be remitted back to the High Court for admission of the exhibit in question and continuation of the trial where it ended prior to the filing of the appeal.

"For interest of justice, we direct that the record be placed before another judge for continuation of trial from where it ended. Taking into consideration the nature of the offence and the fact that the respondent (Kristina) is in custody, a quick disposal of the case is necessary," they directed.

The 25-year old woman from Lithuania was arrested at Kilimanjaro International Airport on August 28 this year and was allegedly found in unlawful possession of the drugs.

According to police sources, Kristina Biskasevskaja, who is a musician by profession, was on her way to Brussels aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight number ET 0814.

On her first arraignment before the High Court, the accused person denied the charge.

On February 15, 2016 when the trial was still in progress, the prosecution led by Senior State Attorney Tamari Mndeme, assisted by Ignas Mwituka, a State Attorney, sought to tender the envelope through the government chemist as exhibit in the trial.

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