Guinea Bissau National Wins Appeal against 22-Year Jail Verdict in Tanzania
guinea, bissau, court, appeal, tanzania
A Guinea Bissau national Alberto Mendes has won an appeal against a 22-year jail verdict for trafficking 85 pellets of narcotics.
According to the prosecution for the Court of Tanzania, Mr. Mendes was trafficking 1,277.40 grams of heroin hydrochloride drugs, valued at 57,483,450 Tanzanian Shilling, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in llala District in the region of Dar es Salaam, on April 15, 2012. Mr. Mendes was said to have defecated at random, after which the drug pellets were collected and handed over for analysis and confirmation to the Chief Government Chemistry.
During the appeal hearing, defence counsel Nehemia Mkoko and Jeremiah Mtobesya, complained, among other things, that drug custody throughout its movement to the Chief Government Chemistry violated the Police General Orders.
The justices of the court also noted that most witnesses handling the drug movement presented at the trial where police officers, and according to Mr. Mtobesya, were duty-bound to adhere to the PGO No 229 procedure. According to them, police officers where required by the PGO to properly document, label, and record the particulars of all exhibits moved from the scene. It also requires that the reason why any exhibits are moved from the scene, be recorded. If another officer then handles the exhibit, the officer is required to record his or her name and signature. The appeal also proved that witnesses who handled the exhibit did not carry out this procedure and this failure tremendously affected the substantiation of the prosecution’s case.
Because the only available descriptions for the drugs were its shape and colour, they observed that the evidence was insufficient and inconclusive, and leaves rooms for tampering of the exhibition.
After Mr. Mende’s appeal to challenge Tanzania’s high court judgments, Justices Lungo Mwandambo, Richard Mziray, and Rehema Keref took into consideration some doubts in the prosecution case and ruled in the favour of Mr. Mendes’s appeal.
As the prosecution had not shown any credible link between the exhibited drugs and description made the general, the appellant was entitled to an acquittal.
According to the Justices, the conviction entered by the High court has was not proven beyond reasonable doubt and the sentence of 22 years with the fine of 144,965,700 Tanzania Shilling has been set aside.