The High Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday ordered the defence in the murder case facing Elizabeth Michael, alias Lulu, to present an affidavit and supporting documents showing the age of their client.
Lulu is charged with the murder of a popular local movie star Steven Kanumba on April 7, this year, at Sinza Vatican in the city.
Judge Fauz Twaib who is presiding over the case also ordered the prosecution side to present, or caused to be presented, any evidence it may have to support its position.
He said he had set aside a decision of the Kisutu Resident Magistrates' Court to refuse to entertain the accused's application, saying it was an error in law and an abdication of the court’s duty.
Judge Twaib made the remarks when giving a ruling on an application filed in the High Court by defence counsel Peter Kibatala seeking an order for the lower court to determine the age of the accused.
“The application was filed through the wrong procedure and it was not proper,” said the judge.
“Considering the seriousness of the charge facing the accused and the urgency to determine whether or not the applicant is entitled to the benefits of the the Child Act and in the interest of justice, this court invoking its supervisory power under section 44 of the Magistrate’s Court Act, shall proceed to determine the correct age of the applicant now before it, in terms of section 113 of the Child Act,” said Judge Twaib.
Earlier in his application, Kibatala stated that the lower court had the power to investigate the age of the accused according to section 113 of the Child Act.
The defence wants the court to take consideration of the accused's age and hence accord her the basic rights as a child, according to section 4(2) of the Child Act.
Kibatara argues that the case should be transferred to a juvenile court because the suspect is underage.
The case was adjourned to June 13 when the defence is to produce the said evidence to prove the accused's age, and June 20 for the prosecution to reply and June 22 for a rejoinder.
The case will come up for hearing on June 25, this year.