HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter of :
MATHABO BURE CHAO
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 25th day of September,
accused appeared before the Subordinate Court, Maseru charged with
theft of sixteen goats and nine sheep.
pleaded guilty and was accordingly convicted as charged.
In a well
thought out judgment the learned magistrate pointed out that owing to
the long career in stock theft embarked on by the
accused from 1969
to date, it is fitting that the accused be committed for sentence to
the High Court. Very properly the learned
magistrate disregarded the
first two previous convictions as they related to offences committed
more than ten years before the
instant one which was committed in
accused is now aged forty six.
the period of his wanton enterprise in stock theft he was convicted
seven times. Much of the time spanning this period was
with terms of imprisonment which he served. They foot up to twelve
clearly it seems to me that attempts at reforming the accused are
futile and come to nothing. The corollary of this is that
owning community are placed in constant fear of being deprived
of their hard earned and much valued possessions
accused is out of the prison walls. As long as the accused is at
large they can't help being fidgety and anxious.
But my view is that
they are entitled to peace of body and mind. They deserve some
permanent respite from unwarranted and menacing
possession of their stock.
In R vs
Swarts 1953(4) SA. 461 A.D. at B - C the then Chief Justice of South
Africa Mr. Justice Centlivres said :
"I do not wish it to be inferred that it (meaning the
indeterminate sentence) should never be imposed where an accused has
not previously been convicted before the Supreme Court or when he has
not previously been warned of the indeterminate sentence.
must be decided on its own facts."
entirely agree with this.
In a case
similar to the instant one i.e. Cash M. Dlamini and Another vs The
King (unreported and unnumbered) where the decision
was delivered by
Isaacs J.A. in the Swaziland Court of Appeal; Maisels, P. in agreeing
with the main judgment said at p. 4:
"The facts in this present case really speak for themselves.
There is no doubt that the appellant has systematically embarked
course of house-breaking, theft, and robbery. I can almost say that
this has been his business; and that business has to stop.
entirely that he should be declared a habitual criminal and given the
part I am constrained by the unawareness whether sentences are
periodically reviewed by any
in this territory including, as desirable for instance, the Committee
for the Prerogative of Mercy among others. Barring
my unawareness, it
would be fitting to express the hope that, if in fact sentences are
periodically reviewed, there should be a
regular review of sentences
in all cases so that although some convicts may have received
indeterminate sentences after being declared
habitual criminals their
cases may receive reconsideration from time to time.
of this constraint the accused may count himself fortunate in that I
propose to only warn him that once he has been declared
criminal, the prospects of which are more likely than not, in the
highly likely event that he is once more convicted
of any criminal
offence, he will serve an indeterminate sentence. See sections 302 &
303 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
For a man
of his habits it does not matter to me that all the stock he had
stolen were recovered.
accused is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.
: Miss Moruthoane
Defence : In person.
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