The effect of a loss of R187

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					                                                        CA NO. 104/03



              IN THE HIGH COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA
           (BOPHUTHATSWANA PROVINCIAL DIVISION)



In the matter between:



                                THE STATE


                                     VS


               VASCO MBALATE AND 2 OTHERS




REVIEW JUDGMENT

HENDRICKS AJ:

The three accused were convicted in the Magistrate Court Mogwase of
theft of a set of pots to the value of R187,00. The Magistrate imposed
the following sentences:-

     “Accused No. 1:     You are sentenced to R2000-00 or 12 months
                         imprisonment.


     Accused No. 2:      You are sentenced to R1000-00 or 6 months
                         imprisonment, half of which is suspended for a
                         period of 5 years on condition that you are not
                         again convicted of theft or attempted theft
                         convicted during the period of suspension.
      Accused No. 3:      You are sentenced to R2000-00 or 12 months
                          imprisonment, half of which is suspended for a
                          period of 5 years on condition that you are not
                          again convicted of theft or attempted theft
                          committed during the period of suspension”.


When this review initially came before my brother Hendler J he queried
whether the sentences imposed are not out of proportion to the crime
committed. He further stated:-

      “The effect of a loss of R187.00 on the business is completely
      exaggerated and it certainly could not affect the business to the extent
      that people should loose their work. I am of the view that a fine of
      R500-00 or 3 months imprisonment would have been a suitable
      sentence”.


The Magistrate conceded that these sentences are out of proportion to
the crime committed and quoted some case law in support of the
concession he made.

I am of the view that this concession was correctly made and I also align
myself with the view expressed by my brother Hendler J.

I am also of the view that it is not necessary to differentiate between the
sentences to be imposed on the different accused persons seeing that
they acted in concert with one another in furthering a common goal.
Their personal circumstances are also more or less of a similar nature.


CONCLUSION

In the result I make the following orders:-

1.     The convictions are confirmed.


2.     The sentences imposed by the Magistrate are set aside and it is replaced with the
following:-


               “The accused are each sentenced to R500-00 or three (3)
               months imprisonment”.



3.     Any amount which any of the accused / deponents paid as a fine in excess of R500-00
should be repaid to that accused / deponents.


4.     The accused is to be advised in writing by the Clerk of the Magistrate Court at
Mogwase of the substitution of their sentences as above.




R.D. HENDRICKS
ACTING JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT

DATED:         04 JULY 2003

				
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