Aggravated features (Zimbabwe)

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If the prosecutor wishes to do so, he may address the court to draw attention to the aggravating features of the case and to make submissions as to the appropriate sentence in the case and to refer to any relevant case law in this regard.

For commentary on the factors which may aggravate sentence see Chapter 7 of A Guide to Sentencing in Zimbabwe by G. Feltoe. See also Mangena & Ors HB-22-05. These factors must be weighed against factors such as the age and personal circumstances of the accused. The sentencing court has a duty to enquire into the subjective elements in order to individualise the punishment.

As regards the factor of prevalence of a particular crime it was noted in Sibanda HB-102-06 that while the prevalence of an offence is a relevant factor in sentencing, it is not the overriding factor. It is not the function of the court to try to control crime by imprisoning people accused of crimes which the legislature, in its wisdom, considers trifling. While the courts should never be seen by the public to be trivialising serious offences, courts are equally enjoined not to make trivial cases serious. Either scenario is as much unjust as the other.

See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual