Kanifing High Court describes magistrate’s sentence as abuse on humanity

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Justice Kuejubola of the Kanifing High Court recently stated that the sentence on an accused person, Wilfred Silvanus, by a magistrate at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court was an abuse on humanity.

She made this statement when she was delivering a judgment on an appeal filed by Wilfred Silvanus at the Kanifing High Court. She said that the appeal was filed by the appellant on the 1st of June, 2018, upon being dissatisfied with the judgment of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court dated 24th of May, 2018. She further adduced that the appeal was against the whole sentence on the appellant by the said magistrate for the offence of store breaking and stealing.

The presiding judge went on to say that the state counsel, who was represented by S. Jahateh, upon being served with the notice of appeal, and the records of proceeding, submitted that the order of the magistrate seeking to sentence the accused appellant was perpetuating against Section 31(d) of the Criminal Code. She said that Counsel Jahateh urged the court to alter the sentence.

Justice Kuejubola told the court that according to the records of proceeding, the magistrate ordered the accused person to pay a compensation of D170,000 to PW1 for damages and losses, and that the one year prison term shall be renewable from term to term. “This kind of sentence is novel and it is an abuse of the fundamental right of the accused appellant,” she declared.

She further told the court that the one-year prison term that was to be renewed, according to the state counsel, was in perpetuation. “It is on record before the court that the compensation ordered by the magistrate has long been paid by the appellant, yet he continues to remain in prison. The purpose of this court is to do justice, which must not only be done but must be seen to be done. Justice is for all,” she said.

She disclosed that she agreed with the state counsel that the sentence of the lower court was inconsistent with Section 145 of the CPC and Section 31 of the Criminal Code. “I hold that the entire sentence is unknown to our law. I hereby quash the sentence and order made against the accused appellant and hereby set him free from prison confinement,” she told the court. She further stated that the appeal was meritorious, as the whole judgment by the magistrate was unreasonable and unwarranted.

Author: Dawda Faye