July 3, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Ernest Gooding of the Freetown High Court last Friday (30th June 2017) convicted and sentenced one Francis Conteh to serve ten years at the Freetown Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road for the offence of robbery.
The convict was before the High Court of Sierra Leone for the offence of robbery contrary to Section 23 (2) of the Larceny Act of 1916.
The prosecution had alleged that the convict on the 3rd of May 2016 at Krootown Road in Freetown attacked and robbed one Alhaji Jalloh of his properties and physical cash, all to the total value of twelve million, two hundred and ninety five thousand Leones.
Prior to the sentencing of the convict, State Prosecutor, A. Bah, submitted that the charge which the convict was standing trial for in the High Court, was a very serious charge and warrant a sentencing of life imprisonment.
He disclosed to the court that the complainant in the matter was still suffering from injuries sustained during the attack and that the complainant may incur possible amputation of the left foot according to the medical report that was tendered in court.
He canvassed the judge to slam maximum sentencing as stated in Section 23 (2) of the Larceny Act of 1916m, which demand life imprisonment for anyone convicted under the said section.
In her plea of mitigation, Lawyer Cecelia Tucker from the Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board, pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy, noting that the accused has not wasted the court’s time in answering to the charges.
She pleaded with the Bench to caution and discharge the convict as he has shown some amount of remorse.
In his judgment, Justice Gooding said he has listened to both the prosecution and the defense and has taken into consideration the seriousness of the case, especially when the victim was still suffering from the injuries sustained from the attack.
He said the court has the jurisdiction to caution and discharge the convict as canvassed by his lawyer, but such action would not send any massage to people that are engrossed in attacking innocent people.
He said the issue of robbery was on the increase in the country and that the police and the judiciary needed to step up effort to combat the menace.
He said he was not going to apply the submission of the prosecutor, who has applied for maximum punishment, but would sentence him for a time he would realise that he has done wrong to the society.