October 10, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Miatta Samba, presiding at the Freetown High Court, last Friday sentenced one Kadiatu Mansaray and Saidu Bah to two years imprisonment after they were found guilty on two counts of larceny and receiving stolen goods, contrary to law.
Three accused persons were charged to court for the aforementioned offence, but Justice Samba acquitted and discharged one of them – Mohamed Alieu Bah.
The accused persons were standing trial on three counts of larceny, contrary to Section 2 of the Larceny Act of 1916, and receiving stolen goods.
The prosecution had alleged that on 17th January, 2015 in Freetown, the first accused stole two gold chains from one Kelvin Davis, valued Le27 million.
The prosecution further alleges that on the same day, both the second and third accused persons knowingly received the stolen property.
Reading her judgment, Justice Samba expressed thanks to State Prosecutor Ahmed J.M. Bockarie for prosecuting and proving his case beyond all reasonable doubt.
She also thanked Legal Aid Board Lawyer Cheryl Blake for representing the accused persons in court throughout the trial.
She said the prosecutor presented three prosecution witnesses who testified in the matter, including complainant Kelvin Davis.
She said the complainant had told the court on 17th January, 2015 at about 9p.m., he took the first accused home and dropped her off after they had sex.
She said the complainant had further narrated that when he returned home, he realised that his two gold chains were missing and that he tried to trace the first accused but couldn’t find her, and that he reported the matter to the police, who later arrested her.
The female judge said the evidence before the court was that both chains were in the room of the complainant before the first accused took them away without his consent, with the intension to deprive him.
She said there was also evidence before the court that the first accused stole the chains and gave them to the second accused for valuation.
The judge said that after presenting three witnesses who testified in court, the prosecution closed their case on 17 August, 2016, adding that all the three accused persons were put on their election but decided to rely on their statements to the police.
She said the first accused identified herself to the police as a prostitute and that she had regular sexual bouts with the complainant, who paid one hundred thousand Leones for every encounter.
Justice Samba said the first accused narrated that on the day of the incident, (17 January, 2015) the complainant refused to pay her after they had sexual intercourse, adding that they had to fight.
She said the first accused told the police that it was during the fight that she removed the chains from the complainant’s neck and took them home, adding that she gave them to her boyfriend (second accused) for examination.
She said the accused further narrated that her boyfriend went out and upon his return gave her two hundred thousand Leones, which she used to pay the dentist to replace her tooth that was removed during the fight.
“According to the statement of the second accused, the first accused had lost her tooth nine months before the incident. I believe the complainant’s testimony and I have no doubt on my mind that the first accused stole the chains as alleged in count one of the indictment,” Justice Samba said.
She further stated that the second accused had told the police that while he was in the process of weighing the chains, the third accused expressed interest in it, hence sold them for seven hundred and twenty five thousand Leones.
Justice Samba discharged the third accused on the grounds that there was no evidence before the court that directly linked him to the crime and that he had denied knowing the second accused.
She said she had considered the plea in mitigation by the first and second accused persons and that the offence for which the first accused was convicted was punishable by law for a term not exceeding 5 years imprisonment.
“I note that both the first and second accused have been incarcerated for a period of about 20 months. I am hopeful that you both would have learnt a lesson from the act on which you have been convicted and the time spent in prison away from your loved ones. I hereby sentence you to two years imprisonment effective the date of your first incarceration,” Justice Samba ruled.