IN THE HIGH COURT OF ESWATINI
Case No. 122/15
In the matter between:
SAMKELISO SKUTA MNDZEBELE
Neutral citation: Rex V Samkeliso Skuta Mndzebele [122/15]  SZHC 98 (11th June, 2016)
Coram: FAKUDZE, J
Heard: 6th June, 2019
Delivered: 11th June, 2019
Summary: Criminal law – Extenuating factors found in the form of provocation; low level of education and that the accused was under the influence of dagga – Factors to take into account in sentencing considered – Accused’s conduct heinous and attrocious – Sentenced to Twenty Three (23) years imprisonment – Sentence backdated to the accused’s date of arrest.
JUDGMENT ON EXTENUATION AND SENTENCE
 The accused was charged with the offence of murder and the court has accordingly found him guilty as charged.
 The court is now called upon to determine the issue of extenuation and sentence.
 In S.V. Letsolo 1970 (3) SA 476 A.D at 476 F-H Holmes well defined extenuating circumstances as follows:
“Extenuating circumstances have more than once been defined by this court as any fact bearing on the commission of the crime which reduces the moral blameworthiness of the accused, as distinct from his legal culpability. In this regard the trial court has to consider:
- Whether there are any facts which might be relevant to extenuation such as immaturity, intoxication or provocation (the list is not exhaustive);
- Whether such facts, in their cumulative effect, probably had a bearing on the accused’s state of mind in doing what he did;
- Whether such bearing was sufficiently appreciable to abate the moral blameworthiness of the accused in doing what he did.
In deciding (c), the trial court exercises a moral judgment.If the answer is yes, it expresses its opinion that there are extenuating circumstances.”
“low education, coupled with a rustic background may do!”
“A sentence must consider:
- The penalties and other forms of treatment prescribed by the Legislature;
- The circumstances of the case;
- The circumstances of the offender; and
- The interests of the society at large.
Under the above broad heading, the court must also consider such factors, inter alia,
- The evidence in mitigation;
- The effect of the offence upon the victim and the community;
- Whether the offender made repatriation or has compensated the victim;
- The effect which the sentence may have upon continuing relationships.
- The prevalence of the crime at the time of its commission;
- The potential for inflicting harm upon the innocent and the vulnerable; and
- Its potential for undermining the integrity of the society and its officials.”
“I had no doubt that society expect courts to deal effectively with matters of the killings of human beings by others which is not only prevalent but is on the rise.It was for this consideration that the sentence I would give should not end up being too low so as to lead to members of the public losing confidence in the justice system.In this regard, the sentence I imposed took into account considerations of deference.”
JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
REX: N. MASUKU