Cwele makes last-minute appeal to reduce sentence

2013-07-11 00:00

DRUG trafficker Sheryl Cwele, the former wife of Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele, has made a last-minute appeal to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to have her sentence of 20 years reduced back to its original 12 years.

The high court in Pietermaritzburg initially sentenced Cwele and her co-accused, Frank Nabolisa, to 12 years for drug trafficking that involved drug mules.

After the drug smugglers appealed their sentences, the court granted the state’s request that their sentences be increased to 20 years.

But the state then did not formally lodge the appeal and Nabolisa’s defence used the gap to appeal in the Constitutional Court against what it termed an unconstitutionally increased sentence.

The Constitutional Court on June 12 found that the appeal court had no right to accept the state’s request for an increased sentence, as the state had to formally lodge an appeal like any other legal person.

Nabolisa’s sentence was accordingly reduced back to 12 years’ imprisonment.

As was expected, Cwele yesterday submitted her own last-minute appeal to Mogoeng, to appeal against her increased sentence.

In her application, she asks the Constitutional Court to excuse the fact that her appeal application was submitted much too late, because her constitutional right to a fair trial had been impaired by the Appeal Court.

She asked the Constitutional Court to treat her increased sentence in the same way it had treated that of Nabolisa. The judge is considering the application.

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