THE HIGH COURT OF SWAZILAND
THE MATTER BETWEEN:
: MASUKU J.
THE CROWN : MS S.W. NDERI
THE ACCUSED : MR M. MAHLALELA
have been convicted of murder, which is a serious crime by any
standards. In arriving at what it considers an appropriate sentence,
there are certain considerations that the Court must take into
account. These include the nature of the offence, the interests of
the society and those of the accused person.
v. SWANEPOEL 1945 AD.444 at 445, the Appellate Division stated as
ends of punishment are four in number, and, in respect of the
purposes to to be served by it, punishment may be distinguished as 1.
Deterrent, 2. Preventative, 3. Reformative, 4. Retributive. Of these
aspects the first is the essential and all important one, the others
being merely accessory. "In S v QAMATA & ANOTHER 1997 (1) SA
CR 479 @ 480 Jones J. stated the matter as follows:-
is now necessary for me to pass sentence. In doing so, it is proper
to bear in mind the chief objectives of criminal punishment, namely,
retribution, the prevention of crime, the deterrence of criminals,
and the reformation of the offender. It is also necessary to impose a
sentence which has a dispassionate regard for the nature of the
offence, the interests of the offender, and the interests of the
society. In weighing these considerations I should bear in mind the
to show an understanding of and compassion for the weaknesses of
human beings and the reasons why they commit serious crimes, by
avoiding an overly harsh sentence;
to demonstrate the outrage of society at the commission of serious
crimes by imposing an appropriate, and, if necessary, a severe
pass a sentence which is balanced, sensible, and motivated by sound
reasons and which will therefore meet with the approval of the
majority of law abiding citizens. If I do not, the administration of
justice will not enjoy the confidence and respect of society.
is what I intend to do in your case. Factors that I take in your
favour are the following:-
you have no record of any previous conviction.
you subjectively thought that the deceased stole your possessions
and therefor hold that this was not a premeditated killing.
you have shown remorse in that you expressed an interest in
maintaining the deceased's children.
that you have a family, which includes two wives, five children and
your own mother. One should however hasten to say that in the case
every accused person, invariably there will be families dependent
upon the accused. These dependants should be considered before
engaging in any criminal act.
slender chance of recurrence of this offence.
said this, there is nothing to gainsay the fact that murder is a
serious crime, which, in your own words you acknowledged involves
taking the God - given life of another. For that reason, the Courts
must show high regard for the sanctity of life.
that weigh against you in this matter include the fact that you
abused the privilege of being granted a firearm licence. Instead of
using the firearm to protect yourself, you used it as a weapon of
aggression, to make even with those that you perceived had wronged
you. The possession of the firearm gave you a false superlative sense
of security and illusory control over others' lives, as you ordered
the deceased to raise up his hands and go into Armando's room,
failing which you shot him.
shooting him, you did nothing to administer first aid treatment to
him, let alone to transport or make arrangements for him to be
transported to the hospital.
also took the law into your own hands instead of apprehending the
perceived culprit and taking him to the Royal Swaziland Police for
want you, at this time of sentencing to appreciate that the reason
and nature of the infliction of this punishment is the crime that you
have committed - you must be in pain and know that your suffering is
due to the offence you have committed.
the circumstances, I impose a sentence of seven (7) years
imprisonment, which is to be reckoned to run from 26th August, 1998,
the date of your arrest.