§ Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the sentences passed by the magistrate at Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, on 2nd January, 1958, on five African boys charged with burglary; and how these compare with sentences authorised under the penal code of that territory.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think there is some misapprehension about the date of the incidents which the hon. Member evidently has in mind, since no sentences of this kind were passed on 2nd January. The cases to which I think the hon. Member is alluding were heard on 27th and 30th January. The details are as follows:
- 1. Timothy Phiri was convicted on 9 counts of burglary and theft and was sentenced in aggregate to 15 strokes on four of the charges and to reform orders on the other five.
- 2. Brown Chilubula was convicted on two counts of burglary and theft and on one of theft. He was sentenced to 16 strokes in aggregate and was recommended for deportation to his village.
- 3. Stephen Rice Mpande was convicted on four counts of burglary and theft and one of theft, and sentenced to an aggregate of 17 strokes on the first four charges and to a reform order on the fifth count.
- 4. Santi Meleki was convicted on two charges of burglary and theft and sentenced to an aggregate of 22 strokes (eleven strokes on each charge). He was also recommended for deportation to his village.
- 5. Stanley Jeremiah was convicted on two counts of burglary and theft and one of theft. He was sentenced to an aggregate of 17 strokes and recommended for deportation to his village.
No appeal was entered against any of the above sentences but late on the evening of 31st January, 1958, the High Court intervened in the matter as the sentences appeared excessive to the Acting Chief Justice. At the time of the intervention eight strokes were still due to be inflicted on Stephen Rice Mpande, eleven on Santi Meleki and nine on Stanley Jeremiah.95W
In a supplementary question on 3rd April the hon. Member inquired about a boy who had been sentenced to 22 strokes for theft and whether this sentence was not in violation of the Penal Code. The boy in question was Santi Meleki (case No. 4 above), who is fifteen years of age.
Section 27 (5) (a) of the Penal Code prohibits the imposition of a sentence of more than 12 strokes on a person under the age of 18 years and 24 strokes in any other case. Although the total number of strokes in each case was not imposed in respect of one charge only, and therefore the imposition of the strokes cannot he said to have been contrary to Section 27 (5) (a) of the Penal Code, the Acting Chief Justice ruled that to allow the sentence to stand would result in the spirit of the law being defeated.
As a result of this case consideration is being given to the amendment of the law with the object of preventing the infliction of more than 12 strokes for a succession of offences.