IRREGULAR FOR COURT IMPOSING SUSPENDED SENTENCE TO FETTER DISCRETION OF SUBSEQUENT COURT

S v MASETI 2014 (2) SACR 621 (ECG)

Sentence — Suspended sentence — Putting into operation of — Irregular for court imposing suspended sentence to fetter discretion of subsequent court — Considering whether to put suspended sentence into operation by providing that suspended sentence should not run concurrently with other sentence.

The accused was convicted in a magistrates’ court of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment which was wholly suspended for five years on condition that she was not in that period again convicted of a similar offence where violence was involved, and it was ordered that in the event that she was again convicted of such an offence the suspended sentence was not to run concurrently with any other sentence imposed. On review,

Held, that the wording of s 297 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 did not empower the court that imposed a suspended sentence to give directions and/or conditions on how in future the suspended sentence was to be brought into operation. It was the court that had the power to put into effect the suspended sentence that had the discretion to do so and that court should not be fettered by the restrictions imposed on it by the court which imposed the suspended sentence.

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