The Banjul Magistrates' Court, presided over by Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe on Wednesday convicted and sentenced one Hulay Sonko and Alasana Nyassi to a mandatory jail term of 10 years, and an additional fine of D1M in default to serve five years imprisonment, after they were found guilty on two counts of drug trafficking offences.
The convicts were charged with possession of prohibited drugs for the purpose of drug trafficking, contrary to Section 43(4) (e) of the Drug Control Act 2005; and conspiracy to commit an offence, contrary to Section 53(1) (a) of the Drug Control Act 2003.
The particulars of the offence on count one revealed that the convicts on or about 7th August 2012 at Latrikunda had in their possession 24kg and 40grams of Cannabis sativa, a prohibited drug, thereby committed an offence.
On count two, conspiracy to commit an offence, the particulars of the offence stated that the convicts on or about the 7th August 2012 at Latrikunda in the Kanifing Municipality conspired among themselves to traffic 24kg and 40grams of Cannabis sativa, a prohibited drug, thereby committed an offence.
Handing down the judgment, the presiding magistrate recalled that the convicts were arraigned on the 21st August 2012 charged with the said two counts to which they both pleaded not guilty. That, he said, prompted the prosecution to call six witnesses to testify in their case, whilst the accused persons testified in their defence and did not call any witness.
After re-casting the evidence of the case, the magistrate went on to say that the two issues that arise for determination are, whether the cannabis belongs to the accused persons or they conspired to traffic the said cannabis. According to him, after going through the cautionary statements of the convicts, he came to the conclusion that both of them were jointly engaged in a criminal enterprise and therefore stated that the prosecution has proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt. Consequently, they were all convicted accordingly on all the two counts.
In their plea for mercy, the convicts urged the court to temper justice with mercy. The magistrate however sentenced them to a mandatory jail term of 10 years with hard labour, and in addition, to pay a fine of one million Dalasis, in default to serve five years imprisonment on count one.
On count two, the convicts were sentenced to another mandatory jail term of three years and a fine of one million Dalasis, in default to serve five years; both sentences to run concurrently.