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.
Was the harsh sentence fair?
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?
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First published on baillawyer.co.za 2020-02-03
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