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.
All three appellants have appealed against their convictions. There is no appeal against the sentences, because of the mandatory provisions of the legislation in casu. The representative of the Crown conceded Accused No. 5's appeal, due to the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence against him, specifically. Since Accused No.
On the 10 April 2010, elements of the conservation service of Dja carried out an anti-poaching patrol on the Dkoum-Mintom highway. During this patrol they arrested the accused Abang Joseph on a bike transporting the co-offender Assako Ruphine carrying three crocodiles in a bag.
On 17 – 18 June 2016 at Bucklands Farm, in the district of Albany, in the course of which a white rhino known as Cambell, belonging to one Ian Steward, was darted with a tranquilizer gun and its horn removed, resulting in the death of the rhino. The police were working on Operation Full Moon as Rhino poaching was rife.
The appellants were convicted own their pleas of conspiring to commit an offence of illegal hunting of a rhinoceros, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition in the magistrate court. They were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment each for count 1 and 4 years imprisonment each for count 3.
Accused persons were found guilty of unlawful possession of 2 horns in contravention of the Game Act. The Act prescribes that a person found guilty of the offence must either replace the game or compensate the full value of the property to the owner or government in cases where the owner cannot be established.
The accused were previously convicted on various counts, by the same court and the matter came for sentencing on a later date. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1977, prescribes a discretionary minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment per count for amounts of more than R500 000; for the ten counts on theft of rhino horns.
The appellant was found to have been complicit in the transaction where a fake rhino horn was sold in a police trap for R350 000. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. The appellant unsuccessfully appealed to the Free State High Court against his conviction and sentence.