Heaviest yet: surprise and delight at term

2012-11-10 00:00

THE 40-year sentence, the heaviest yet in a rhino poaching case, was a huge surprise to those in the packed courtroom yesterday, and was widely welcomed.

Last Monday, when Chumlong Lemtongthai agreed to plead guilty, there was speculation at court that a plea agreement would see him sentenced to 15 years, with seven suspended.

Yesterday, the court listened rapt as magistrate Prince Manya-thi detailed Lemtongthai’s modus operandi, frequently emphasising his greed and disregard for the pride of South Africa, its rhinos.

A shaven-headed Lemtongthai stood and listened to the hour-long sentencing, even though he understands only a few words of English.

At the end, the interpreter simply told him how long he would have to serve, and he turned and left the court room without speaking to his legal team.

Manyathi said the interpreter might compile a written translation later.

A group of conservation activists present for the sentencing were initially speechless, before congratulating prosecutor Allen Simpson and members of the SA Revenue Service and the Hawks, who had worked on the case for months.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in a statement she hoped the sentence sent the message that South Africa was serious about fighting poaching.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said they hoped the heavy sentence would set a benchmark for future cases.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.