Magistrate Mohamed Salieu Seray-Wurie at the Ross Road Court No.1, has convicted and sentenced one Musa Kabia, a drug hawker, to twenty-four months in prison after being found guilty of illegally selling class A-drugs, like Tramadol without license.
The accused was arraigned before the court under the Pharmacy and Drugs Act of 2008, and was proved guilty after several major prosecution.
Before delivering his judgment, magistrate Seray-Wurie told the court that the offense committed by the convicted accused was very serious and that it attract a minimum of 5-years imprisonment plus a fine of five million Leones.
“I have considered the seriousness of the offense charged, testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, statement of the convict to the police including also the particulars of the offense committed,” he said, ruling “I am satisfied that the prosecution have adduced sufficient evidence against Musa Kabia beyond all reasonable doubt, and I found him guilty as charged.”
However, Kabia in his plea of mitigation said he shouldn’t be blamed for selling medicines without license, because he was genuinely doing it to eke a living on a daily basis.
He adds that he was jobless and would not want to take to crime for survival, hence resulted to selling drugs.
He, however, blamed owners of pharmacy, saying that they should be held responsible for selling drugs to them without verifying whether they have license or not.
He appealed to the court to have mercy on him, claiming that he was not aware that the trade he was involved into was punishable by law.
He informed the magistrate that he was the breed winner of a large family and pleaded to be fine instead of given a custodial sentence. He stressed that sending him to prison directly will further place serious financial burden on his family at liberty.
Responding, magistrate Seray-Wurie said: “having listened to the the plea of mitigation from the convicted accused, he is to serve a term of 24-months at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Centre in Freetown.”
He furthered that the conduct of the convict was willfully calculated and deliberately executed, because he knew his action was associated with fatal danger.
Magistrate Wurie also stated that the drugs sold by the convict was negatively impacting on the mental health of many youth in the country, and that it was largely responsible for influencing most of the crimes committed by the young people.
He also advice Kabia to abstain from selling such drugs without license after serving his jail term. He believes that the sentence given to the convict will serve as deterrent to future offenders and will equally limit the chances of others who are engaged in the act.
Kabia who was taken out of the court in tears, claimed that he was targeted by the police because he refused to bribe them, disclosing that a lot of his colleagues were outside selling without been arrested.
He, therefore, alleged that the police is steadily making it difficult for them to remain in extreme poverty through its brazen oppressive and determined effort to strike fear into their hearts in order to render them jobless.
“They are sentencing our progeny to permanent status of serfs,” he cried. Asked whether he has any plan to appeal, he answered in the negative, adding that he was not sure whether the magistrate was err in his decision because he could have been jailed for five years.