The Court of Appeal has quashed a Pemba man’s death sentence and reduced his offense from murder to manslaughter for causing the death of his three-year-old step daughter.

In this case, Christopher Simonga was convicted for murdering his disabled step daughter.

It was alleged that on January 8, 2017, Simonga, in the company of his wife and step daughter, were coming from a farm where they went to do some piece work, when his wife asked him to help carry the child as she was tired.

Simonga did not use a Chitenge to strap his step daughter and while walking back home, he heard that his cattle had gone astray and decided to run after them.

While running, his step daughter fell to the ground and fractured her neck.

When his wife got to the accident scene, she found her daughter failing to breath and decided to call the elders from the village.

However, the child died while Simonga ran away.

He was later arrested and charged with murder.

However, in his defence, Simonga told the lower court that the child’s death was an accident.

But his wife had told the court that Simonga could have twisted the child’s neck because he had intentions to kill her.

The lower court then convicted and sentenced him to death, describing his behaviour as gross negligence.

The court stated that it was reckless to run with a child with a disability.

Simonga appealed against his sentence stating that the court erred when it convicted him of murder instead of manslaughter despite the prosecution failing to prove malice aforethought.

Court of Appeal judge Judy Mulongoti said the failure by the prosecution team to call a doctor to testify on what could have caused a fractured neck was fatal.

Judge Mulongoti said the court misdirected itself when it convicted Simonga of murder instead of manslaughter.

“We find merit in this appeal and we quash the conviction and substitute it with manslaughter. We set aside the death penalty and substitute it with 25 years with hard labour,” said Judge Mulongoti.