Magistrate Harding slams cannabis convicts 5 years!
March 2, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Family members of four out of ten accused persons burst into uncontrollable tears last Friday (27 February) after Magistrate Manuella Harding sentenced four individuals convicted on unlawful possession of cannabis – known locally as diamba – to 5 years in prison.
The quartet – Alusine Bangura, Sheriff Koroma, Ibrahim Sesay and Mohamed Monday Tholley – had been caught smoking the banned substance at a location in the east of Freetown on 20 February, according to police prosecutor 8680 Issa M. Turay.
He said a team of detectives, headed by one Assistant Superintendent S.M. Williams attached to the Eastern Police Division, conducted a raid and arrested the accused persons and brought them to the station.
The magistrate also ordered that six persons convicted on being found at a place used to sell and consume the prohibited drug pay a fine of Le200,000 each or serve an alternate term of one month in jail. They include Ibrahim Feika, Abubakarr Turay, Foday John Koroma, Rashid Tholley, Osman Bangura and Mohamed Bangura.
All ten convicts had been charged with two counts of unlawful possession of cannabis sativa and being found at a place used to smoke cannabis sativa, in breach of the National Drugs Control Act 2008, respectively.
Speaking during the sentencing, Magistrate Harding said the reason for the tough sentence was to send a strong message that the law prohibits the use of drugs in the country and that anybody caught in breach, irrespective of status, would face the stipulated penalty.
She noted that the use of dangerous drugs was on the increase in the country and destroying thousands of youth, and that if proper measures were not taken in time the streets will be full of drugged youth who could bring mayhem and calamity to the entire nation.
She underscored that the foursome who were convicted on unlawful possession of cannabis should run five years as section 8 of the National Drugs Act imposes an “…imprisonment for a term not less than five years”.