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High Court nullifies terrorism charges against Lwakatare

9th May 2013
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Prison warders lead Chadema defence and security director Wilfred Lwakatare from the High Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday. (Photo: Khalfan Said)

The High Court of Tanzania yesterday nullified three terrorism counts facing Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo defence and security director Wilfred Lwakatare and his co-accused, Ludovick Joseph for lack of evidence to prove that the meeting they held to purportedly commit terrorism was linked with the act.

The accused are now charged with one count only of conspiracy to maliciously administer poison with the intent to harm Denis Msacky contrary to Section 227 of the Penal Code.

Ruling in the case in Dar es Salaam yesterday High Court Judge Lawrence Kaduri said that information submitted by the prosecution side lacked legal evidence to substantiate that the meeting was linked with a terrorism act.

Justice Kaduri said that according to the law, the nature of terrorism cases must have actual evidence to prove the prevalence of terrorism acts beyond reasonable doubt.

“According to the law, the information which has been given by the prosecution side does not show that there is prevalence of terrorism in this charge,” the justice said.

The three counts which were thrown away are conspiracy to kidnap Msacky contrary to Section 4 (2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act Number 21 of 2002, planned and participation in a meeting purported to be concerned with an act of terrorism, namely, plotting to kidnap Msacky contrary to the same section of the 2002 Act.

In this case, accused Lwakatareis claimed to have allowed a meeting to be held in his house while he was aware that the occasion would have been used for the execution of a kidnap plan – itself a crime under the 2002 Act on terrorism.

Justice Kaduri however said that the decision by the DPPs to drop the case filed at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court was right because there were shortfalls in filing it.

Speaking to journalists on behalf of the defence Peter Kibatala applauded the High Court for making what he called an historic decision of invalidating charges facing their client.

He said it was a relief to their clients as the only left charge can be bailed contrary to the previous charges on terrorism.

Early this month, the prosecution told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court that the police investigation into the case was complete.

Meanwhile, Lwakatare’s attorneys have filed a request in the High Court asking it to throw out an entry made by the prosecution and consider them guilty of abusing prosecutorial powers. Lwakatare’s lawyers, Peter Kibatala, Tundu Lissu, Nyaronyo Kicheere and Prof Abdallah Safari, filed the application under a certificate of urgency which demanded expedited proceedings.

Lwakatare and Ludovick appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in the city for the first time on March 18, this year charged with four counts related to terrorism.

According to the charge sheet, it was alleged that the accused committed the offence on December 28, 2012 at Kimara Stop Over- in King’ong’o area, Dar es Salaam Region.
It was further alleged that on the material day the duo conspired to maliciously administer poison with intent to harm Denis Msacky, contrary to Section 227 of the Penal Code.

In the second count, the accused are alleged to have conspired to kidnap Msacky contrary to Section 4 (2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act Number 21 of 2002.

In the third count it is alleged that on the same date and at the same place, the accused planned and participated in a meeting, knowing that it was concerned with an act of terrorism, particularly plotting to kidnap Msacky contrary to the same section of the 2002 Act.

Further, it is alleged in the fourth count on the same date that Lwakatare allowed a meeting to be held in his house while he was ware that the occasion was meant to execute a plan to carry out the kidnap, which is a crime under the 2002 Act on terrorism. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN