The Court of Appeal will on July 29th pass judgement in a case in which Mpho Masoso wants his 18 years jail term for the murder of Tshephang Malebye reduced. In his submission Masoso’s lawyer Laone Serole said the sentence passed by Judge Abednico Tafa was excessive, and that the judge failed to maintain uniformity with previous sentences.
He said while each case has to be decided on its own merits, there has to be a semblance of uniformity in sentences with regard to similar offences. Serole submitted that in some cases murder appellants who had administered more stab wounds to their victims were sentenced to a longer jail term, which the Court of Appeal later reduced. He said in the current case, Masoso only administered three stab wounds on the victim, yet he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He argued that the sentence meted out to his client is shocking and disproportionate and cannot be justified.
Serole said Justice Tafa had agreed with defence counsel that Masoso should be given a chance to learn from mistakes and remould, bit never took the issue into consideration when passing sentence.
“In most it has been held that sentence should be remedial and not punitive” he said.
He added that his client will be 50 years of age after his release, and he will not have anything to support himself and his family.
“Releasing him at 50 years reduces chances of him playing a meaningful role in the society and he will instead become a burden to the society” said Serole.
When opposing the application, Mpho Mmolainyane of the Directorate of Public Prosecution submitted that the lower court had exercised its discretion judiciously by imposing the sentence it did.
He said the discretion was not exercised on any wrong principle and said the sentence is not disproportionate to the offence as to induce a sense of shock. He said the trial court cannot be faulted for failing to apply the principle of uniformity when passing the sentence as lesser sentences were passed in instances where there were more stab wounds.