IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
In the Appeal of :
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
Filed by the Hon. Mr. Justice F.X. Rooney
on the 13th day of October, 1982.
Mr. G.N. Mofolo for the Appellant
Mr. Kabatsi for the Crown,
On the 3rd August, 1982, the appellant appeared
before Mr. T.S. Motinyane, charged with stealing a
goat. He pleaded guilty and on conviction was
sentenced to 3 months imprisonment. He appealed to
this Court against the severity of this sentence.
On the 30th September, 1982, I quashed the conviction
and sentence. According to the statement of facts
presented to the court by the prosecutor, the complainant's
goat went astray in July of this year. On the 29th of
that month, the complainant and the police came to the
accused's home and inspected his flock. The statement goes
on to say :
"A goat with different ear-marks was found.
It was identified by complainant as his
stray goat. Accused was asked to give
explanation which he did furnish. He was
arrested cautioned and charged."
The prosecutor did not tell the court and the
magistrate did not ask him what the explanation was which
the appellant gave to the police. For all I know,
he may have explained the circumstances in which the goat
was found among his flock in a manner
2/inconsistent with ....
inconsistent with his guilt. It is not enough that
an accused pleads guilty. The statement of facts must
disclose that he is guilty. No adverse inference can
be drawn simply because the missing goat was found
among the appellant's flock.
I was unable to accept Mr. Kabatsi's argument that
the nature of the crime of theft was so well known that
the possibility of mistake on the part of the appellant
could be disregarded. There is statutory obligation on
a Subordinate Court to hear and record the facts
disclosed by the evidence in the prosecutor's possession
(Sec. 240 (1)(b) Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
It has been held in numerous cases that unless the
facts establish the existence of an offence, the
accused must be acquitted (See Apell v. Rex 1981 (1)
LLR 49 and cases cited therein at 51, Rex v. Khalema
& Another 1981 (1) LLR 97 and Rex v. Khama 1981 (1)
13th October, 1982.
Attorney for the Crown : Law Office.
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