IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In the
appeal of :
SEKOTA MOFU Appellant
Delivered by the Honourable Acting Chief Justice Mr.
Justice J.L. Kheola on the 13th day of February, 1987.
The appellant appeared before the Resident Magistrate
for the district of Leribe charged with theft, it being alleged that
8th day of October, 1986 and at or near TEBA in the district
of Leribe the appellant unlawfully and intentionally stole a canvas
bag and the contents as follows: M2OO-OO, a blanket, a jersey, a
shirt and a pair of trousers (total loss valued! M393-00) the
or in the lawful possession Mokhomo of Ramahapu. The
appellant pleaded guilty to the charge and after the public
prosecutor had given
a summary of the facts disclosed by the evidence
in his possession, the appellant was convicted and sentenced to
fifteen (15) months'
imprisonment. He is appealing against both
conviction and sentence.
The facts were that on the day in question the
complainant was arriving from the mines in the Republic of South
Africa. He went to
TEBA offices at Leribe and entered into the offices
leaving his bag outside. The bag contained the sum of M200-00, a
blanket, a jersey,
a shirt and a pair of trousers. Immediately after
the complainant entered into the offices the appellant took the bag
and gave it
to someone on the other side of the wall. That other
person was never arrested. The appellant was arrested and charged.
The appellant is now appealing to this Court on the
grounds that -
"1. There was evidence that the accused stole a
canvas bag but no evidence that he stole the contents thereof, or
he was aware of them.
2. The sentence is excessive in the circumstances
On the 13th February, 1987 I summarily dismissed the
appeal in terms of section 327 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
because I found that there was no sufficient ground for
interfering with the finding of the court below. What follow are
reason for that decision.
The charge sheet clearly stated that the canvas bag
accused stole contained money (M200), a blanket, a jersey, a shirt
and a pair
of trousers. He freely pleaded guilty to the charge
because he understood what it meant and he knew very well what he had
argument that he was unaware of what the contents of the
bag were at the relevant time when he took it, is irrelevant. The
must have seen that the bag had some contents although he
may not have seen
what they were. He must have felt by the weight of the
bag when he took it that it contained something. Canvas is such a
that if the bag had no contents the appellant would
have realised at once that it was worthless. In any case, in all
cases of bag-snatching
the thief usually does not know what is in the
bag at the time he snatches it from the owner, He checks the loot at
a secluded place
after he has got out of the reach of the people
pursuing him. Such a thief cannot be heard to say that he did not
know that the bag
contained an invaluable ring and therefore he is
not guilty of theft of the ring.
The appeal against conviction is dismissed summarily.
The sentence of fifteen (15) months' imprisonment for
the theft of the sum of M200-00 and some clothing worth close to
not arouse a sense of shock. The learned Resident
Magistrate has taken into consideration that in his district theft
of miners arriving from the mines is rampant. No grounds
have been shown which would justify interference by this Court with
sentence imposed by the court below.
The appeal against sentence is also dismissed summarily.
0.L. KHEOLA ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE.
27th February, 1987.
African Law (AfricanLII)
Ghana Law (GhaLII)
Laws of South Africa (Legislation)
Lesotho Law (LesLII)
Liberian Law (LiberLII)
Malawian Law (MalawiLII)
Namibian Law (NamibLII)
Nigerian Law (NigeriaLII)
Sierra Leone Law (SierraLII)
South African Law (SAFLII)
Seychelles Law (SeyLII)
Swaziland Law (SwaziLII)
Tanzania Law (TanzLII)
Ugandan Law (ULII)
Zambian Law (ZamLII)
Zimbabwean Law (ZimLII)
Commonwealth Countries' Law
LII of India
United States Law