S v Arab 1990 (1) ZLR 253 (SC): Mandatory minimum sentence

Dumbetshena CJ:

The appellant was convicted of dealing in emeralds. No special reasons were found for not imposing the minimum sentence of 3 years. On appeal against both conviction and sentence, the appellant raised the argument that the mandatory minimum sentence under s3(2) of the Precious Stones Trade Act 1978 was unconstitutional as being an inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to s15(1) of the constitution. In dismissing the appeal the court held that the minimum sentence did not create a punishment disproportionate to the offence.

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