Possession of stolen property

My sister runs a mobile money business in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. Last year, she was arrested after she was found in possession of two mobile phones. However, she explained to the police officers that the phones were her properties which she bought at a mobile phone market in town and was using them in her business. At the end of the trial, my sister was convicted. I was in Court on the day of judgement and I remember the magistrate saying something on the doctrine of recent possession and the fact that since my sister was found in possession of the phone which had been recently stolen and identified by the owner, then she was guilty.  I don’t think this is unfair. Why was she convicted?
IS, Dar es Salaam

It is a well-established principle of law that where a person is found in possession of a property recently stolen or unlawfully obtained there is a presumption that the person stole the property. This is what is known as the doctrine of recent possession. The doctrine entitles the Court to assume that the individual in possession of the stolen property was the one who committed the theft in the first place. However, in order to invoke the doctrine of recent possession, the Court must establish that the property was indeed stolen, the theft occurred recently and there is no reasonable explanation as to ownership from the person who was found with the stolen property. You may seek the help of your lawyer to further understand this doctrine and why your sister was convicted as we do not have all the facts.