THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
In the matter
Case No. 327/2006 CR 1430/2006
Order No. 4/2008 In the Maseru District
This case has been
brought to the High Court on automatic review.
appeared before a second class magistrate for the district of Maseru.
He was charged with having committed the crime
of house breaking
with intent to steal and theft, in count I.
In count II he was
charged with having committed the crime of contravening the
of Section 3(1) and 2(a) of the Internal Security (Arms and
Ammunition) Act No.17 of 1966 as amended by Act No.4 of 1999.
The particulars in
count I are that the accused did unlawfully and intentionally and
with the intent to steal and break enter the
office of one David Chen
and unlawfully stole the sum of M5,500.00; the property of or in the
lawful possession of the said David
In count II the
particulars are that the accused contravened the Provisions of the
said Act in that he unlawfully purchased, acquired
or was in
possession of a .38 special without having been issued with a firearm
tendered a plea of guilty in both counts. He was subsequently found
guilty as charged on both counts and sentenced.
However, and most
regrettably, the court a quo imposed a global sentence on both
counts. The charge sheet reads that sentence is
three (3) years
imprisonment without an option of a fine.
It must be
mentioned that it is highly irregular for any court to impose a
global sentence upon an accused person where one is charged
than one count.
In the instant
case, there also appears yet a different sentence from the one that
is indicated on the standard charge sheet. The
court a quo has at
page 6 of the proceedings imposed a sentence upon the accused as
Two (2) years
count I and one (1) year count II.
Other than the
fact that this sentence differs from that which is written on the
front side of standard charge sheet, there is also
no indication as
to how sentences should run. This is also highly irregular.
Be that as it may,
this court is at large in the proceedings of this nature to vary the
sentences. Regard being had to the case
JASONE V. REX
1978 LLR page 102 (also Mofokeng page 272), as a general rule of our
law, it can correctly be said that in a situation such as
one where the judicial officer has imposed sentences on more than one
count but has not said or indicated that sentences
concurrently, such sentences are to run consecutively.
For the foregoing
reason(s) the sentence herein imposed by the court a quo and which
appears at page 6 of the record of proceedings
is confirmed and it is
to run consecutively.
It is advisable
that the court a quo should always maintain consistency in the way
that it writes down the imposed sentences on
each count where one is
facing more than one count as in the instant case.
This will obviate
a possibility of any confusion as to exactly which sentence has been
imposed on the accused person as it is the
case herein. The order of
this court on review is therefore as follows:-
Count 1 - Two (2)
Count 2 - One (1)
Sentences to run
consecutively. Could the learned magistrate have this appropriately
communicated to the prison authorities wherein
the accused has been
COPY: All Chief
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