bail

“Raging” debate on bail sorted by Tanzania’s highest court

When members of a country’s highest judicial forum speak of a dispute that is “raging” in the courts there, readers should take note. Obviously, something important is going on. In the case of Mwita Joseph Ikoh and two co-accused, that “something” is the issue of which court has jurisdiction to consider whether they may be given bail: the high court, or the specialised division of the high court that deals with corruption and economic crimes. Earlier this month the Court of Appeal decided the question – and the “raging” debate should now be settled.

Read the judgment on TanzLII

As the rest of Tanzania was getting ready for year-end celebrations in December 2017, six people in the Mwanza region found themselves in deep trouble. Instead of spending time at home over the holiday they were in jail, after being arrested in relation to drugs charges. The six now find themselves charged under the Drug Control and Enforcement Act with trafficking in “precursor chemicals”.

Judges on warpath against drug scourge

Two new decisions from the High Court in Namibia show judges on the warpath against drugs and drug dealing. The distinctly tougher line follows a watershed judgment late last year (2018). As I wrote at the time, through that strongly-worded landmark decision the Namibian courts gave notice that they were intent on a serious change to the way they handle cases involving drugs and drug dealing.

The two Namibian high court judges who heard the appeal by drug-accused Paul Umub did not mince their words. Upholding his 10-year sentence they said: “The courts must step in and impose severe sentences, never heard of before, as we are losing the battle against drug abuse. … The sentences … imposed must be so severe to deter the appellant and would-be offenders from committing such offences.”

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