The plaintiff filed a motion for commitment of three persons to prison following an alleged breach of an interim injunction that prohibited a mining company, SANDCO, from mining sand in a designated area.
There was an arrangement by which the Ministry of Agriculture would mine the sand in the area and sell it on the spot to SANDCO, which was forbidden by order from mining it.
The court held that this arrangement was an attempt to get around the order of the court and do the very same thing which the court order forbid the defendants from doing.
The Minster of Agriculture who took the matter to the Cabinet was prepared to defy the court order to assist the third defendant in mining the sand.
The court was of the view that the defendants had taken the decision that because of the big profits which they made from sand mining operations to go ahead with the mining despite the Court order. Even if the Court were to find them guilty of contempt, they would be able to pay any fine and still end up with a huge profit. In the circumstance therefore a fine could not be regarded as any punishment to the contemnors.
The court decided that custodial sentences were appropriate and the defendants were sentenced to prison each for one month.