March 15, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Principal Magistrate of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.1, Dr. Abou Bakarr Binneh-Kamara, yesterday sentenced one Michael Max Massaquoi, who identified himself as a student of the Milton Magai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) to either service three months imprisonment at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road or pay a fine of Le500,000.
The accused pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis sativa.
He was charged with one count of unlawful possession of cannabis sativa contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution had alleged that on 26 February, 2016 he was arrested at the Albert Academy School at Berry Street with some quantity of cannabis sativa.
Speaking from the dock, Massaquoi said he is an Asthma patient and that he uses cannabis sativa for medicinal purpose, adding that he was neither a dealer nor a habitual smoker of the banned substance.
Pleading on behalf of the accused, lawyer C.B. Davies said he was informed that his client was asthmatic and that he uses cannabis as cure for his ailment.
He said the accused did not intend to waste the time of the court, thus pleaded guilty as charged, although he uses the substance for its medicinal value.
In his sentencing statement, Magistrate Dr. Binneh-Kamara said ignorance of the law was no excuse and that whenever people are caught with cannabis, they pretend being asthmatic patients, albeit with no medical evidence to prove that fact.
“This is my judgment, I order that the accused person service a jail term of three months imprisonment with alternative fine of five hundred thousand Leones,” he ruled.
In another matter in the same court, oneAlpha Sibbie and Sheku Ngouaja were yesterday remanded at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road pending sentence after the duo pleaded guilty to one count of false statement, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution had alleged that on 21 February, 2016 at the Valentino Hall in Bo, in the southern province of Sierra Leone, they launched a movie titled ‘Tribal War, Mende versus Temne’, which has the tendency of igniting conflict between the two tribes.
Pleading on behalf of the accused persons, Lawyer E.S. Banya said they produced and launched the movie in order to eke out their survival and that they were completely ignorant of the ramification the movie could bring to peace and security in the country.
She said the country has no regulatory body that looks into the way and manner movies are titled, adding that the duo have learnt their lesson.
The matter continues on 17 March, 2016 for judgment.