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D1m fine for drug trafficker

Jul 29, 2010, 12:03 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The anti-narcotics court at the Banjul Magistrates' Court yesterday convicted and sentenced one Sarjo Fatty, a resident of Niamina Jarreng village in the Central River Region, to a fine of D1 million in default to serve 10 years in prison with hard labour.

Sarjo Fatty pleaded guilty to a charge of drug trafficking before the court presided over by Magistrate Hilary U Abeke

According to the particulars of the offence, the accused Sarjo Fatty on 14th July 2009 at Wassadou in the Western Region had in his possession 47 Kg and 500g of cannabis sativa, a prohibited drug.

In his plea of mitigation, Sarjo Fatty told the court that he wants the court to temper justice with mercy, as he is the sole breadwinner of his family. He also said that he is a family man with nine daughters, who are all attending school.

Sarjo further told the court that that, since the incident happened, he had tried, without success, to settle the case through a plea bargain with the former executives of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA).

According to him, he had paid a lot of money during that process which he thought would have brought the matter to an end, but surprisingly he was taken to court for the same matter.

He added that he had receipts of payment made to the former executives of the NDEA.

In passing sentence, the trial magistrate stated that he was touched by the mitigation plea, and considered the fact that the accused is a first-time offender.

He said he would have forgiven and set him free, but the provisions of the law do not permit the court to exercise any such discretion. He said the court's hands are tied, and that it cannot exercise any option outside the provisions of the law.