Tanzania: High Court Dismisses Appeal On Poaching Crime

ONE poacher Yacobo Daniel, alias Siong'o will continue serving the 20 years imprisonment sentence imposed on him for engaging in crimes related to poaching activities at Samisami River within Ikorongo Game Reserve in Serengeti District, Mara Region.

This followed the decision of the High Court-Musoma District Registry, to dismiss the appeal under which Daniel, the appellant, had lodged in attempt to challenge the findings of the trial Serengeti District Court at Mugumu.

Judge Zephrine Galeba ruled, "the judgment of the district court of Serengeti in economic case no 91 of 2018 is hereby confirmed. This appeal is dismissed and the appellant has a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal to challenge this judgment according to law."

During hearing the appeal, the appellant raised four grounds, complaining that he was wrongly tried by a subordinate court without a certificate of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) vesting jurisdiction unto the matter.

He contended that his conviction and sentence are both unlawful because at the time that the trophies were being ordered to be destroyed, he was not present and he did not sign the inventory.

The appellant stated that his conviction was unlawful because his defence was not considered and that it was based on wrong exhibits which were tendered by three prosecution witnesses.

When determining the ground of appeal on jurisdiction, the judge agreed with prosecution that the trial of the case was lawful, because the certificate to confer jurisdiction was filed in court on May 29, 2019 and the original instrument is on record, which means the first complaint lacked merit.

Regarding the tendering of exhibits, the judge having gone through the proceedings it was evident that the inventory was tendered in court by the prosecution without any objection.

According to him, although the inventory was not signed by the appellant, had what the prosecution witness testified as false and the appellant would not have respected it during the trial and that he would have denied it or questioned it or even contested its admission.

"It is the holding of this court that a matter or document not questioned or cross-examined upon at the trial or denied during defence cannot be challenged on appeal. In other words, a trial of the appellant to question the authenticity of the Inventory on appeal cannot be procedurally lawful," the judge said.

On the complaint of the trial court not considering the appellant's defence, the judge was to the contrary view, saying although it was briefly considered, which is explainable because of the amount of the evidence tendered by the defence itself.

As regard to wrong evidence given by three prosecution witnesses, the court noted during the trial the appellant was charged with unlawful entry in the Game Reserve, with various weapons and also being found there with various parts of wild animals.

He also observed that one Hamis Liranga and Kabichi Juma are the persons who arrested the appellant in the Game Reserve with the weapons and the trophies. The judge ruled that such witnesses could not be said to be wrong witnesses.

"They are the material witnesses for all the three counts. (Another witness) Wilbrod Vicent was necessary to identify the species or types of the animals from which the trophies were obtained. It cannot also be said that his evidence was unnecessary or wrong as the appellant put it," he said.

The appellant along with another person, who jumped bail, were charged on four counts of unlawful entry into a Game Reserve and unlawful possession of one machete, two spears and seven animal trapping wires in the Game Reserve without authorisation from the Director of Wildlife.

They were also charged with unlawful possession of three legs and two fresh ribs of wildebeest on one hand and one fresh skin of Topi (a type of antelope) on the other. There was another count of unlawful possession of two legs and two ribs both being fresh meat of Zebra.

The legs, ribs and skin are government trophies, hence a statutory restriction on their possession. Such offences were committed by the appellant and the other offender on September 6, 2018 at Samisami River within the Ikorongo Game Reserve in the district of Serengeti within Mara region.

The acts of the duo, according to the respondent violated various laws designed to protect wildlife. Following his trial, the district court convicted the appellant on all counts.

He was sentenced to one year imprisonment in respect of each count of weapons and 20 years imprisonment on each counts of unlawful possession of the government trophies.

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