South Africa
This is an appeal against a sentence. The appellant was charged with two counts: 1. Failing to declare the possession of 12 rhinoceros horns, contravening section 15(15)(b) read with section 1, 81, 87(1), and 95 of the Customs and Exice Act, No. 91 of 1964. 2. Being possession of the relevant rhinoceros horns without being in possession of a permit, contravening section 57 (1) read with section 1, 56, 57(1), 101(a) and 102 of the National Environmental Management - Bio-Diversity Act No. 10 of 2004 read with Government Gazette 31899 Volume 524. On 6 July 2011 the appellant pleaded guilty to the charges proferred. The State called on three impressive witnesses during the court proceedings, who were experts on the seriousness of the problem of hunting of rhinoceros for their horns. The Judge believes that the Court may fairly take judicial notice of the fact that the whole issue of hunting of rhinoceros in South Africa has received much attention and the scale of the problem is most disturbing. The Trial Court sentenced the current appellant to two years on Count 1, and 10 years on Count 2 of imprisonment. The Judge of the current appeal, reasoned that a court must always have regard to the possibility of rehabilitation and correction, as well as serve the function of specific deterrence. However, the Judge does not see the need to impose a sentence of this magnitude, even though society's sense of outrage regarding rhinoceros hunting of the kind in question is particularly acute. The Judge further reasoned: "In my view, one of the reasons why poaching such as this is viewed so seriously is that we get a glimpse, through the threat to the survival of rhinoceros, of our own precariousness on this earth through greed." Taking into account the fact that the Magistrate did commit misdirections, namely letting the appellant await trial for 13 months, the Judge called for his interference. The fact that the two offences are so closely linked to one another provides a compelling argument for ordering their concurrency. Judgement: The Judge proposed that the appeal is upheld to the limited extent that it is ordered that the sentence of imprisonment on Count 1 is to run concurrently with the sentence on Count 2. And so, the effective sentence is 10 years of imprisonment. (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)