We came across an interesting case recently where the punishment most definitely did not fit the crime. A petty criminal received an unduly harsh sentence. Furthermore, there were minor children involved who might have been left without their caregiver if the sentence had been carried out.
An accused appeared before a magistrates court for the theft of shower gel and a body wash to the value of R160.50. The accused was a primary caregiver of two minor children (11 and 16). The initial magistrate sentenced the accused to three years’ imprisonment.
Upon review, the Mpumalanga High Court found that the magistrate had failed to take the best interests of the children into account in ordering such a harsh sentence.
Considering the children’s interests does not mean that a primary caregiver cannot or should not be given a harsh sentence as a punishment when it is deserved. However, in imposing such a sentence, the court should first take care of the best interests of the children under the accused’s care. The High Court found that the sentence of three years had failed to take the children’s best interests into account. It was reduced to 18 months, backdated to original date of sentencing.
Have you been unfairly treated by the courts?
Our bail attorneys are here to help you, whether you are arrested unlawfully or lawfully. And if you or a loved one has received a sentence for an offence that you feel is unjust or excessive, contact us on 086 099 5146 or email Simon on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your case.