The Magistrate Court commenced trial without the accused persons having pleaded to the charges. The Magistrate referred the matter for special review before sentencing of the accused persons. Court found that it had jurisdiction in terms of section 20(1)(c) of the High Court Act 16 of 1990 to review the proceedings of a Magistrate’s Court.
The facts are that the the appellant owned a safari lodge on a piece of land within a nature reserve. His main tourist attraction was the wildlife on the nature reserve. However poaching on the reserve had led to the reduction in wildlife sightings and therefore lower volumes of business.
The accused pleaded guilty and were convicted for unlawfully hunting 2 rhino’s and being in possession of rhino horns. The court below considered the seriousness of the crime and the number of rhino’s killed per year and the impact that poaching has on the economy and imposed a sentence of 6 years imprisonment and a N$60 000.00 fine.
The accused entered onto the complainant’s farm in order to hunt an oryx and was charged with the offence of unlawful hunting of huntable game, and trespassing. The accused pleaded guilty to both counts and were accordingly convicted. The question arose whether there was a duplication of convictions when the court convicted on both counts.
The appellants appealed their convictions to the Supreme Court. The grounds for the appeal were that the admissions made to Mr Kao of the Ministry of Wildlife and Conservation were inadmissible for not being made freely and voluntarily, with which the High Court agreed.
Offence is alleged to have occurred on 7 September 2009 at or near Mahango Game Park (in the district of Rundu). The accused wrongfully and unlawfully hunted 3 kudus without a special permit. He was wrongly sentenced to a fine of N$3000 Namibian dollars or in default of payment 20 months’ imprisonment.
In the lower court, accused 1 and 2 were convicted of count 1, contravening sections 1,30(1)(b), (30)(1)(c), 85, 89 A of the Nature Conservation Ordinance 4 of 1975 as amended read with ss 90 and 250 of Act 51 of 1977. Accused 5 was convicted of the first alternative to count 1 – Possession of game meat contravening s 51 of Ordinance 4 of 1975.
The appellants appeared before the District Magistrates’ Court on two charges of contravening the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1975 relating to hunting specially protected game, (namely: three elephants) without a permit and possession of six elephant tusks.