Accused was convicted on his own plea of defilement

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Accused was convicted on his own plea of defilement of a girl under the age of twelve years. (P. C. s.136(1).) His pleas was as follows: “I did have sexual rela- tions with this girl who is twelve years of age.” Held: (1) Accused ’s statement could have meant either that the girl was twelve at the time of the offence, or that she was twelve at time of his trial. The former meaning would raise a defence under sub-section 2 of section 136 of the Penal Code: his reasonable belief that the girl was not under twelve. The plea of guilty was not, therefore, unequivocal. (2) As accused was properly convicted of abduction (P. C. s. 134), and given a concurrent sentence on that charge, no re- trial, was ordered. Conviction of defilement quashed. (1967) H.C.D - 24 – 97. Shabani s/o Mvutakamba v. R . Crim. App. 57-M-67; 16/3/67; Platt, J. Complainant alleged that accused had attacked and beaten him. Accused cate- gorically denied this. There was not independent corroborative evidence for ei- ther side. Because the evidence was unclear the trial court conviction was quashed.
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The High Court stated, obiter: “The evidence of a single witness for the prosecution can be relied upon to base a conviction, but of course the evidence of single witness can only be accepted with care.” 98. Matonya Chima v.R . Crim. App. 89,90,91-D-67; Duff, J Accused, aged fourteen sixteen and seventeen years respectively, were con- victed of rape. (P.C., ss. 13,130.) All three were sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, the magistrate stating that two were adults while the third was a young person. Held: (1) Section 22 of the Children an Young Persons Ordinance, Cap. 13, prescribes that no young person shall be imprisoned unless the court consid- ers that “none of the other methods of punishment are suitable.” The Court stated, “A more appropriate punishment would have been corporal punishment.” (2) The sentences of all three were set aside, and sentences substituted so as to result in their immediate release. 99. Damiel s/o Mugema v. R ., Crim. App. 956-M-66; 23/3/67; Platt, J. Accused were convicted of assaulting a police officer. At the close of the prose- cution case, accused Daniel Mugema informed the court that he had expected to be represented by an advocate and requested that the court adjourn the trial to permit him to obtain counsel. Prior to the trial a letter had been written to the court stating that counsel had been briefed, but this letter had been lost. The re- quest for adjournment was denied. The only indications in the record that the ac- cused had been sentenced were unsigned and undated judgments and unsigned warrants of commitment; there was no record of any proceedings of any kind af- ter the close of the defence case. Held : (1) If the accused delayed unreasonably, circumstances might war- rant a refusal to grant an adjournment at the trial so that he could obtain counsel.
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  • Fall '17
  • Dean Majamba

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