COMBINED SENTENCES UNDESIRABLE

S v RANTLAI 2018 (1) SACR 1 (SCA)

Sentence — Combined sentence — Undesirability of reiterated.

On conviction in a regional magistrates’ court of three counts of robbery, the court imposed a globular sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for the three counts taken as one for the purposes of sentence. On appeal to the High Court against the conviction and sentence, the court set aside the conviction on one of the counts but left the sentence intact. In a further appeal, the appellant contended that, having had one of the convictions set aside, he deserved to get the benefit of that conviction falling away reflected in his sentence.

Held, that although there was no bar to imposing a globular sentence, it was imperative for judicial officers to consider the desirability of such a sentence carefully before imposing it, bearing in mind the kind of problems it might cause. The present case was a classic example of the kind of serious, if not intractable, problems which would occur on appeal where some counts were set aside and there was a need to alter the globular sentence imposed. Although useful at times, such a sentence had to be imposed in exceptional circumstances only. (See [15].)

Held, further, that what had happened in the present case amounted to an injustice and the sentence had to be altered. An appropriate method of doing this would be to sentence the appellant to 15 years’ imprisonment on each of the remaining two counts, such sentences being ordered to run concurrently.

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