Two men convicted for possession of ivory were released on Tuesday by the Botswana Court of Appeal.
Court of Appeal President, Ian Kirby, released Mlungisi Dlamini and Mazwimbo Molataemang and said their original sentences were too harsh.
He said the two were first time offenders.
Dlamini and Molataemang were sentenced to seven years each by the Letlhakane Magistrate’s Court in 2011, after they were found in possession of ivory.
They took the matter to a high court, which in turn added three more years each to their sentences.
Both the magistrate and the high court judge who increased their sentence “misdirected themselves by giving a severe sentence,” Kirby said.
He said the accused did not financially benefit from the ivory.
“The sentence was too severe on the appellants,” he told the court.
One or two years’ imprisonment would have been suitable.
“Only a single pair of tusks was involved and no organised crime dealing with ivory was discovered, hence the appellants did not deserve a harsh sentence.”
Kirby gave the two men a two-year prison sentence each.
However, they would not serve the sentence as they had already been in custody for more than two years.