By Faustine Kapama
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal lodged by a convicted poacher, Bikolimana Odasi, alias Bimelifasi, to challenge both conviction and the 35-year-jail sentence imposed on him for illegal possession of fire arms in a game reserve and government trophies.
"We find the appeal to have no merit. Hence, the appeal is dismissed in its entirety," Justices Mbarouk Mbraouk, William Mandia and Batuel Mmilla said, overruling the grounds of appeal advanced to dispute the trial verdict, which was confirmed by High Court Judge Haruna Songoro on August 9, last year.
In the appeal, Odasi had alleged that the prosecution witnesses contradicted themselves during the trial and that there was no consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to confer jurisdiction on the Resident Magistrate's Court to handle the trial.
The justices agreed with the prosecution that the inconsistency or contradiction pointed out by the appellant with regard to the prosecution witnesses was not fundamental and did not go to the root of the matter, which is whether or not he was found with the weapons and government trophies illegally.
"For not being fundamental, discrepancy or contradiction, we are constrained not to discredit the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. For that reason, we find the ground complaint that there were contradictions between prosecution witnesses to have lacked merit," they ruled.
Regarding lack of consent by the DPP to confer jurisdiction to a lower court to hear the case, the justices also agreed with the prosecution position that the records were very clear that such consent and certificate had been filed at the trial court. More....