Theft: High court judges confirm four-year sentence

2012-11-15 00:00

HIGH court judges of appeal have confirmed a sentence of four years’ imprisonment imposed on a man who tried to steal a car from a Scottsville parking lot in 2010. However, they were critical of the fact that the trial court failed to convict the culprit of assaulting his captor, who was stabbed in the thigh with a hex key.

Judge Kate Pillay, with Judge David Ntshangase concurring, said the regional court had been correct to reject the version given by the accused, Sipho Maphanga, who claimed he was innocently walking towards Nando’s to buy food when he was set upon and wrongly arrested.

However, the judges said that the trial court should, in their view, also have convicted Maphanga of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm for the injury caused to 19-year-old Henry Bentley.

According to evidence led in the Pietermaritzburg regional court, Bentley became suspicious of two men tampering with a Toyota Corolla in the parking lot on November 6, 2010.

After they got into the vehicle he approached them and shouted “hey”, as a result of which they jumped out of the car and fled in different directions. He testified that he had focused on one of the culprits and accosted him.

A struggle ensued during which he was stabbed in his thigh with a hex key, which was retrieved from under a vehicle at the scene.

Bentley was treated by paramedics and later received three stitches to close his wound.

The appeal court found the sentence imposed on Maphanga for the attempted theft of the vehicle was not unduly harsh and confirmed it.


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