Donnex &Others v R (75 of 2008) (75 of 2008) [2008] MWHC 210 (13 July 2008);

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Headnote and Holding: 

The four appellants were charged and convicted on a charge of destroying indigenous trees by making charcoal without licence contrary to section 64(A) of the Forestry Act. The court had sentenced the appellants to 18 months custodial sentence. The appellants were appealing against the custodial sentence, arguing as follows: (1) the sentence was heavy; (2) the court had failed to consider that they were first offenders and (3) the court failed to give the option of a fine. 
The court began by noting the lack of assessed value of the damaged forest trees. It further pointed out how such information could have been useful towards determining the appropriate sentence. In setting aside, the lower court’s decision, the court held that there was no evidence that the appellants were hardened criminals who deserved custodial sentences.

The court set aside the custodial sentences on the grounds that there was no evidence upon which the lower court based the 18-month custodial sentences and that the appellants were not hardened criminals and ordered each appellant to pay K2000.00. 

The appeal was allowed.