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Defence counsel wants 'Lulu' tried in juvenile court

16th May 2012
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Elizabeth Michael alias ‘Lulu’

The defence counsel in a murder case facing Elizabeth Michael alias ‘Lulu’ yesterday filed an application at the High Court in Dar es Salaam requesting the court to order the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court to investigate her age.

Peter Kibatala made the request because he believed the court had the authority to do so but if the High Court considered that the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court could not do so then it should investigate it itself and if convinced that the accused was a child then it should consider protecting the interests of the child as provided for in section 4(2) of the Law of the Child Act, 2009.

During the last court session, the defence counsel submitted the request to the court wanting their client to be transferred to the juvenile court because she was under 18.
Lulu is charged as a prime offender in the death of famous film actor Steven Kanumba.

One of her lawyers, Kennedy Fungamtama, claimed at the court before Resident Magistrate Augustina Mmbando that their client was 17 years old and not 18 years old as it was announced by the court.

While showing the birth certificate of the accused, Fungamtama claimed that according to the Law of the Child’s Act, 2009, the accused should be charged at the juvenile court.
Fungamtama claimed that after the prosecution led by State Attorney Elizabeth Kaganda claimed to the court that the investigation into the case was incomplete.

“Your honour, the case here is a murder case and the investigation is still going on and one of the things investigated is the age of the accused,” said Kaganda.
Kaganda requested to the court to give them more time to finish their investigation so that they could give the accused her right considering that the case was having a public interest.

She also claimed to the court that even the name on the birth certificate read as Diana Elizabeth, while in the court the accused had been mentioned as Elizabeth. .
After hearing both arguments Magistrate Mmbando threw them all and wanted the defence counsel if they had any requests to present it at the High Court, when the investigation was complete.

According to the charge sheet, the accused committed the offence on April 7 in Sinza area, Kinondoni District, in Dar es Salaam.

The accused, who earlier submitted that she was 17 years old and not 18 as per the charge sheet read, was not allowed to enter any plea because murder cases were normally dealt with the High Court. The case was adjourned until May 21.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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