WANTED MAN IS AT LARGE IN ZANZIBAR
A MAN charged with the murder of a charity worker from Newcastle has been acquitted by a judge during court proceedings in Zanzibar.
26 year old Robert Stringer was found dead on a beach in Zanzibar in August 2009 having suffered multiple head injuries. He had spent the previous five weeks carrying out volunteer work in Tanzania before taking a short break on the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar.
A popular figure locally, Robert's death sent shockwaves throughout Newcastle and surrounding areas. In the months leading up to his trip to Tanzania Robert had carried out a number of successful local fundraisers to help fund his volunteer work.
Judge Abraham Mwampashi acquitted Hamad Khamis of Mr. Stringer's murder in the High Court in Zanzibar. He also criticised the prosecution over the lack of ' hard evidence' presented during the case.
In a 25-page judgment, Judge Mwampashi said Mr. Khamis had to be acquitted because the prosecution was too heavily reliant upon circumstantial evidence when ' hard evidence was of critical nature' in order to convince the court.
Mr. Stringer was found dead on a beach a few days after befriending Mr. Khamis. The pair had discussed business matters as Mr. Stringer was a volunteer and IT expert.
Evidence was presented in court which found that the victim had been hit over the head with an implement during an attack and died from those injuries. The defence for the accused argued that the only connection between Mr. Khamis and Mr. Stringer was the fact that they knew one another.
Mr. Stringer's laptop, ipod and speakers, sun glasses, digital camera and a wallet containing 1,000 Tanzanian shillings and $30 were found to be in the possession of Mr. Khamis. However, the judge ruled that this did not prove an 'evil element.'
The judge also blasted the prosecution for failing to gather what could have proved to have been vital evidence.
'I am baffled as to why no effort was taken to see what evidence could have been drawn from bank cards that were found with the accused person, or from the digital camera or from the computer to help support the case against the accused person.'
In his judgment he added, ' the prosecution case against the accused person is based wholly on circumstantial evidence.'
The court was told a second man wanted in connection to Mr. Stringer's death still remained at large.
No appeal was lodged by the prosecution when Mr. Khamis was acquitted.