IN THE HIGH COURT OF SWAZILAND
HELD AT MBABANE CRIMINAL TRIAL NO. 234/08
In the matter between:
CORAM MCB MAPHALALA, J
FOR CROWN MS. N. HLOPHE
FOR DEFENCE ACCUSED IN PERSON
26TH JULY 2010
 The accused is charged with Attempted Murder in that upon the 29th November 2007 and at Msengeni Area in the Lubombo Region,she unlawfully and with intent to kill administered a poisonous substance on Thoko Jabulile Mathonsi. She pleaded guilty to the charge, and, the Crown accepted the plea.
 A Statement of Agreed Facts signed by both the Crown and accused was read out in Court. It provides as follows:
‘Phumzile Ngomane (hereinafter referred to as the accused) stands charged with the offence of Attempted Murder. She has pleaded guilty to the charge, which plea the Crown accepts.
Accused admits the following:
That she had been hired at a Mnisi homestead to weed some fields with the Complainant. On the 29th November 2007 after they had finished working in the fields accused offered the Complainant “juice’. The Complainant drank the juice and offered it back to the accused to drink but she refused it and said she had already drank it.
The complainant continued drinking the ‘juice’ not suspecting anything. She then noticed glittering substances in the bottle and enquired from the accused what was it that she had given her to drink and the accused told her that it was traditional medicine (siwasho).
Accused also admits that she was asked by the Complainant why she had given her, her medicine to her since ‘siwasho’ is made for an individual but the accused told her not to be worried. Whilst the accused and the complainant were waiting, the complainant experienced severe pains on her body and her saliva became thick. The complainant reported this matter to Phindile Mathonsi and LaMahlalela. Complainant’s condition worsened and the complainant went to sleep. The complainant drank milk but her condition did not get any better.
On the 30th November 2007 the complainant went to work in the fields with the accused but they did not talk. On the 1st December 2007, the complainant asked the accused what was it that she had given her because it was giving her problems in her throat and stomach. The complainant was treated at Lomahasha Clinic a number of times and on the 14th February 2008 the complainant was treated at the Good Shepherd Hospital.
Accused admits that she made an admission to Cocket Ngomane, PW4, her mother and to complainant’s family members that she gave the complainant a drink with crushed bottles in it. Accused further admits that she made a statement to Magistrate M. Mkhaliphi, PW6.
The accused more specifically admits that:
She unlawfully and with intent to kill, administered a poisonous substance on the complainant.
The following will be handed in as part of the evidence of the prosecution:
 The accused does admit in the Statement of Agreed facts that she committed the offence as charged.
 The Crown further submitted a confession made by the accused before a Magistrate. In the confession she admitted that it was made freely and voluntarily and without any undue influence. She further admitted that she was not induced by police threats or promises to record the Statement. She was never assaulted by the police during investigation and at all.
 The accused admitted in the confession that she had been asked by Rose Matfunjwa to commit the offence with a promise that she would give her E3,000.00 (three thousand emalangeni). The confession was duly signed by the accused, the magistrate and the court interpreter. It is admitted in evidence and marked Exhibit 1.
 The Crown further submitted a Medical Report compiled by Dr. Kalumboro of Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki who examined and treated the complainant. It was admitted in evidence and marked exhibit 2.
 In view of her plea of guilty, there was no need on the part of the Crown to lead any further evidence in the light of Section 238 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act No. 67 of1938. The Statement of Agreed Facts has sufficient facts to enable the Court to decide whether or not the evidence proves commission of the offence charged beyond reasonable doubt. In addition, the confession recorded by the accused has been admitted in evidence. In the circumstances the accused is convicted of Attempted Murder.
 In mitigation, the accused pleaded for a lenient sentence alleging that she had five minor children to support; she claims to be the sole breadwinner in the family. She is not employed. She was married in 2006 in terms of Swazi Law and Custom; however, the husband deserted her and she doesn’t know his whereabouts. She claims that she was tempted to commit the offence even though the complainant was her friend. In school she went as far as Grade IV.
 This is a very serious offence particularly because she was hired to poison and kill the complainant for a fee. The complainant had to endure severe and excruciating pain after taking the poisonous substance; she was treated at Lomahasha Clinic on a number of times but to no avail. Thereafter, she attended Good Shepherd Hospital where she was given further medical treatment. It is a miracle that she survived the attempt on her life. It is common cause that she has been treated.
 In passing sentence, I will also take into account the personal circumstances of the accused. In particular, that she is very poor and was enticed by Rose Matfunjwa with money to commit the offence. She has five minor children to support; and, her husband has deserted the marital home and his whereabouts are unknown. However, there was no justification for her to attempt to take the complainant’s life.
 In the case of S. v. Harrison 1970 (3) SA 684 Addleson J. stated:
‘Justice must be done; but mercy, not a sledge-hammer, its concomitant.’
 In the case of S. v. Rabie 1975 (4) SA 855 (A) at862 G Holmes J.A. Stated:
“Punishment should fit the Criminal as well as the crime, be fair to society and be blended with a measure of mercy according to the circumstances.”
 This is not a case requiring a custodial sentence because of the facts and individual circumstances of the accused. A sentence of five years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years is appropriate on condition the accused is not convicted of an offence in which violence or an attempt on the life of another person is involved during the period of suspension.
JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT OF SWAZILAND