Tanzania to Appeal Ruling on Denial of Bail

The office of the Attorney General in Tanzania said it will contest a High Court ruling made last week that termed an entire section of the country's Penal Code denying bail for offences such as murder, treason, terrorism, money laundering and illicit drugs trafficking as unconstitutional.

Principal state attorney Vicent Tangoh from the Solicitor General's office filed a notice with the High Court registrar to appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeal, saying that the government felt "aggrieved" by the ruling.

In a landmark judgment delivered in Dar es Salaam on May 18, judges B.S Masoud, S.M Kulita and J.L Masabo said the whole section of the Criminal Procedure Act violated articles 13(6)b and 15(2) of the country's Constitution and ordered its rectification within the next 18 months.

The panel of judges ruled that failure by the government to rectify it in the specified time would render the entire section automatically expunged from the Penal Code.

In his letter dated May 18, the same day of the ruling, Mr Tangoh requested certified copies of the case proceedings, ruling and orders for submission to the appellate court where a date for the appeal hearing will be set.

Suing govt

A private advocate, Dickson Paulo Sanga, sued the government through the Attorney General in May 2019 challenging bail denial for persons charged under Section 148(5) of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Mr Sanga sought declarations from the High Court that trial courts with jurisdiction to deal with such offences have the leeway to decide on bail.

He argued that personal liberty and presumption of innocence are constitutional rights, and that the offending section took away the mandate of courts of law as provided under the Constitution.

"In compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act, the time frame for investigating and prosecuting accused persons in respect of non-bailable offences is unknown and left to the devices and discretion of the investigating body, and is subject to abuse in most cases, hence denying the liberty of the accused," Mr Sanga said.

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