THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has yesterday, dismissed charges against three suspected drug dealers for prosecution’s failure to complete investigations and prosecute them for a period of 1,335 days, without any reasonable cause.
Principal Resident Magistrate Respicius Mwijage freed Salma Juma, Amos Sosoma and Rashid Mtitu, ordering the prosecution not to re-arrest the accused persons and charge them with similar offence before the court, unless otherwise directed by the High Court.
“For the interest of justice and for avoidance of abuse of the court process, I hereby dismiss the charge against the accused persons and discharge them forthwith,” the Magistrate declared after taking into consideration the circumstances of the case and complaints raised by the accused.
He noted that the accused have been charged before the court for about three years and eight months and in all that duration, the prosecution has failed to complete investigations. “It is not a hidden secret, currently the whole world is in a serious fight against drug abuse.
Our country is one among the most vulnerable in this filthy business. Now, how can we fight against this war if investigations are not completed within a period of three years and eight months!” he wondered.
According to him, there was an outcry from the prison department that prisons were overcrowded, with President John Magufuli, during Law Day celebrations raised his discontent and lamentations regarding unnecessary delays in completing investigations of cases. The cases involved relate to drugs and government trophies.
The Magistrate said that the accused have been raising complaints regarding delays in investigations by the prosecution, without any apparent reasons.
“All the above blames have been in essence directed to courts for not acting, others have even dared to call courts toothless dogs for not acting to such unreasonable delays in completing investigations. It is my brief that the courts are fountain of justice,” he said.
He went on, “It will be an ugly and primitive way in dealing with justice if I cannot act in this matter which has been delayed in this court for more than 1,335 days, the accused being in remand under a simple reason and without any justification that investigations are incomplete.
” By looking at what has been transpiring for the whole period, one cannot be condemned to say that what the prosecution was doing is not prosecution but rather persecution. He was of the view that criminal prosecution was not a game to be played whimsically and vengefully for gratification.
Facts show that on August 26, 2013, the accused were arraigned before the court with an offence of being in unlawful possession of narcotic drugs, which is 920kg of cannabis sativa, commonly known as bhang valued at 138m/-.