By Tunomukwathi Asino
WINDHOEK – Mbala Sihope on Monday succeeded in having his sentence halved, after he was sentenced for stealing a camera.
Sihope was sentenced to 36 months, of which 12 months were suspended for a period of three years, in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court on July 27 last year.
He appealed against his conviction with the High Court in Windhoek. Kadhila Amoomo of Sisa Namandje & Co law firm represented him.
He won the appeal and the judges changed the sentence to a fine of N$5 000 or in default of payment to spend 12 months in prison.
Sihope, through his lawyer, argued that the magistrate erred in that a sentence of 36 months imprisonment, of which 12 months is suspended “is in respect shockingly inappropriate and startlingly heavier given the circumstances of the case in particular”.
The lawyer further argued the camera was recovered and returned to its rightful owner and Sihope, on the other hand, had expressed remorse.
The lawyer further argued that the magistrate attached undue weight to the prevalence of the offence and to the deterrence of the offender and potential offenders at the expense of reformative sentencing considerations and other factors in favour of Sihope.
Amoomo further argued that Sihope pleaded guilty and did not waste the court’s time. “We humbly submit that the magistrate ought to have sufficiently taken this into account,” Amoomo informed the court.
“All accused persons have a constitutional right to plead not guilty. Sihope must indeed be commended for not opting to sit idle and/or deny the allegations from the onset and thereby saving the state’s resources,” the defence lawyer added.
Judges Nate Ndauendapo and Judge Christie Liebenberg heard the appeal.