By Hassan G. Koroma
Seven street traders were yesterday ordered by presiding Magistrate of Magistrates’ Court No.6, Emmanuella Harding, to each pay fines of Le.200, 000 as well as serve three months in jail.
The magistrate said the tough sentence would serve as deterrence to members of the public who do not respect the laws of the land.
The seven convicted traders were each arraigned on one count of selling in a prohibited area, after they were arrested on 19 May, 2014, by a team of police officers attached to the Eastend Police Station, led by Sergeant 3830 Mansaray, while on patrol along Kissy Road.
The seven convicted felons – Daniel Joshua, Lamin Kamara, Salieu Kamara, Mohamed Sesay, Alimamy Sesay, Osman Kanu and Mariatu Mansaray – entered a guilty plea and pleaded with the magistrate to temper justice with mercy, with a promise to never repeat the offence.
However, their pleas fell on deaf ears as Magistrate Harding slammed both fines and custodian sentences.
She said government had declared Operation WID with the aim of getting petty traders off the streets of Freetown and other cities and towns across the country, and to restore law and order in the country.
She said traders at first obeyed the law, only for them to return to the street again in defiance of law and order, despite clear signposts indicating ‘No Street trading’.
“My sentence today will save as an example to all traders in Freetown city; it is because they come to court and at the end of the day they only pay fines, that is why they keep disrespecting the laws. But let me use this case to send a message to those in the habit [of violating the law] that government policies should be respected at all means,” she said.