Tanzania: Court of Appeal Upholds Death Sentence On Murder Convict

THE Court of Appeal has confirmed the death sentence imposed on a resident of Tunduru in Ruvuma Region, Ajili Ajili, alias Ismail, for killing his biological father Ajili Ismail by hacking him with an axe.

Justices Richard Mziray, Rehema Mkuye and Ignas Kitusi ruled against Ajili, the appellant, after dismissing his appeal he lodged to challenge the findings of the High Court.

"Consequently, looking at the totality of the evidence, we entertain no doubt that in the circumstances the trial court properly held that malice aforethought was proved beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, we find the appeal to be devoid of merit. We accordingly dismiss it," they declared.

During hearing of the appeal, the appellant had contended that the trial court erred in law and fact by failing to evaluate the evidence on record as a result it convicted him wrongly for murder instead of manslaughter.

Having considered the submissions, the Justices agreed with the counsel for the appellant that what could be gathered from the sole ground of appeal was that he admitted to kill the deceased.

Thus, they noted, such a situation clearly showed that, the aspect for the appellant killing the deceased was not at issue.

The Justices pointed out that they were aware that the evidence implicating the appellant came from his step mother, as the other witnesses were told by her.

However, they said, her evidence could not be vitiated. "This is so, because under section 143 of the Evidence Act, no specific number of witnesses is required to prove any fact in issue.

What is important is the credibility of the witness," the Justices said. As regards the issue of malice aforethought, they found that the evidence on record clearly established that the killing was perpetrated by malice aforethought.

The appellant made several visits to her mother's home in search of the deceased and all the time he was holding an axe. "He killed the deceased using an axe which is a lethal weapon which he came with it. The deceased was hacked by the axe on his head which was a vulnerable part of the body as per the postmortem examination report and the appellant flee away after killing," the Justices said.

In the circumstances of the case, the Justices also agreed with the prosecution that the appellant ought to know that hitting the deceased with an axe would cause death.

"In this regard, we find that the trial judge properly reached to the conclusion she made," they said. The appellant was a biological son of Ajili Ismail (deceased).

The deceased was married to two wives, including his step mother. On June 18, 2011 in the morning, the appellant went to her mother's house and enquired about his father's where abouts.

When he was told that his father was at his mother's home, the appellant left a message to her that once he came back he was needed at his mother's home, then he left. Later at about 4pm the appellant went at her mother's home and found the deceased there.

He asked if his father had received any message and the deceased affirmed to have received it.

The appellant told him that he was waiting for an evening meal and that he would leave thereafter. He then left.

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