Q&A – 30 October 2023

Bail for a child charged with armed robbery

neighbor’s son aged 15 years is charged with the offence of armed robbery. He is accused of stabbing a passerby with a small knife and snatching her cellular phone. He is currently detained at a police cell and our attempt to bail him has failed because the police inform us that the offence of armed robbery is unbailable even if the offender is minor. We would like to get your confirmation whether a child offender is treated like an adult when charged with an unbailable offence like armed robbery.
UU, Dar

The police are correct. Section 148(5)(a)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act makes the offence of armed robbery unbailable irrespective of the age of the offender. Section 101 of the Law of the Child Act which deals with the child’s right to bail generally, also does not qualify or exclude children charged with unbailable offences from being denied bail pending trial of unbailable offences. The offence of armed robbery is treated very seriously in Tanzania.

All the Court or a police officer can do is assist in finding a safe place where the child can be detained pending trial but not to grant him bail.

Safety information in public passenger vehicles

Before a domestic flight takes off, it is common to hear cabin crew informing passengers about safety rules. However, in public passengers’ vehicles we rarely hear such announcements. Does it mean that we don’t have in our laws imposing on the bus crew the obligation to inform their passengers about safety rules before departure?
SM, Lindi

Regulation 10(2)(d) and 20(1)(e) of the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Certification of Commercial Vehicle Drivers and Registration of Crew) Regulations, 2020 imposes on the crew of passengers’ vehicle an obligation to ensure the passengers are informed about safety requirement prior to the departure and throughout the journey. The problem is probably the enforcement of this law. A crew who fails to inform the passengers about the safety rules is committing an offence and liable to a fine ranging between TZS 50,000 and 200,000 or imprisonment between 1 and 12 months.

Tooting horn unreasonably

While driving I tooted my horn to alert the driver in front of me who was driving slowly to speed up. A traffic police officer who was in front of my car stopped me and alleged that it was wrong for me to toot. Is it an offence to toot?
FM, Dar

Section 39B(1)(2) of the Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002] and regulation 39(3) of the Traffic Regulations allow tooting in very exceptional circumstances. Tooting horn is allowed only where it is necessary to do so in order to attract the attention of other road users to avoid or prevent a danger or giving a warning to another road user to avoid the dangerous approach or position which he or she is trying to take. Even where a driver toots horn to avoid or prevent danger, the tooting should not be excessive that is likely to be a nuisance or causing annoyance to other road users or people who live near the road.

In short it is an offence to toot horn unreasonably. What is unreasonable and what is not depends on the circumstances. Tooting your horn to force a driver in front of you to speed up could likely be an offence because the intention is not to avoid or prevent an accident, unless you can prove otherwise.

Wife stingy with her assets

I have a rich wife who earns nearly 8 times more than I do but takes care of the entire household. We are blessed with two children and I am overall happy with our marriage except for the fact that she doesn’t allow me to use some of her personal assets. For example, I am not allowed to drive her car or use her camping equipment. I feel I am left out of this marriage and as a man, want to take appropriate action. Marriage is about union between a man and woman and such restrictions are unwarranted. What should I be doing to manage this situation?
TU, Dar

You seem to be quite a lucky man whose wife provides for almost everything. Getting married doesn’t mean that everything must be mandatorily shared between the man and wife. Atleast there is no financial infidelity between the two of you and she is honest about the dos and don’ts.

Cruelty is a ground of divorce but we don’t really see cruelty here. You also stated that you are overall happy with your marriage except for being disallowed usage of your wife’s car and camping equipment. Perhaps, and to move on with life, you can consider buying your own car and equipment.

With due respect, you likely need marriage counselling and not legal advice.

Court affidavit full of lies

The plaintiff in a case has filed an affidavit that is full of lies. In fact, some are so obvious that any smart Judge can pick up the lie. Is such lying not an offence?
FF, Morogoro

Lying in an affidavit is an offence of perjury. The law states that any person who, in any judicial proceeding, or for the purpose of instituting any judicial proceeding, knowingly gives false testimony touching any matter which is material to any question then depending in that proceeding or intended to be raised in that proceeding, is guilty of the misdemeanour termed ‘perjury’.

It is immaterial whether the testimony is given on oath or otherwise. It is immaterial whether the false testimony is given orally or in writing. Furthermore, any person who aids, abets, counsels, procures, or suborns another person to commit perjury is guilty of the misdemeanour termed ‘subornation of perjury.’

If guilty, perjury can result in imprisonment to 7 years.