Oct 28, 2020, 12:02 PM
In her judgement, the presiding magistrate told the court that the convict was found guilty of the offences of purchasing forged notes, obtaining credit by false pretences, obtaining money and goods by false pretences and theft. She went on to say that the punishments attached to the said offences are 7 years for purchasing forged notes; 1 year for obtaining credit by false pretence; 3 years for obtaining goods and money by false pretence and 5 years for theft.
She disclosed that she had heard and considered the plea in mitigation made by the defence counsel on behalf of the convict as well as from the convict himself. She said she also considered all the international instruments referred to by the defence counsel as well as the local legislations.
“I have seen the convict and I have noticed his medical condition and acknowledge that he has undergone a major surgery (operation). This court also takes notice of the prison conditions at Mile 2 as was referred to by the defence counsel,” she noted.
The principal magistrate adduced that she had considered the fact that the convict has previous record of conviction coupled with the fact that some victims have suffered some material loss due to the acts of the convict, and that a striking balance had to be drawn.
In as much as the court has a duty to punish the convict for the offences he was found guilty of, she believed the court has a positive obligation as well to safeguard life. “In this obligation, the factors to be considered are the seriousness of the convict’s medical condition, the quality of medical care he will be receiving if imprisoned and whether his state of health is compatible with imprisonment,” she stated.
Still reading her judgement, she noted that as it had been stated by the defence counsel, there is poor diet and poor ventilation at Mile 2. She further said that the convict himself had stated that while at Mile 2, he could not go for his medical appointment, and that no evidence to the contrary had been made by the prosecution.
The presiding magistrate went on to say that in light of the above, and in particular the medical condition of the convict, the court was minded to exercise its discretion pursuant to Section 29 ( 3 ) of the Criminal Code in favour of the convict and gave another chance despite the fact that he has other previous conviction. On the above premises, she declared, the convict was sentenced as follows: on count 1, to a fine of D20,000 in default to serve 2 years imprisonment; on count 2, to a fine of D5,000 in default to serve 6 months imprisonment; on count 5, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 6, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 7, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 8, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 15, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 16, to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve 1 year imprisonment; on count 17, to a fine of D5,000 in default to serve 6 months imprisonment and on count 19, to a fine of D15,000 in default to serve 18 months imprisonment.
In addition, she told the court, the convict was ordered pursuant to Section 145 of the CPC to compensate the victims of their material losses as follows: The sum of D12,360 to Ousman Conteh; the sum of D9,300 to Amadou Barry; the sum of D29,500 to Bijoux Gomez; the sum of D24,000 to Binta Marong; the sum of D5,150 to Lamin Kanyi and the sum of D15,608 to Derrick Rowsey.
She stated further that the victims mentioned above may execute the orders for compensation in the civil way or by levying warrants of distress against the property or properties of the convict.
“Having regard to the medical condition of the convict, the court hereby orders the suspension of execution of sentence of imprisonment in default of fine pursuant to Section 259 of the CPC, upon the following conditions: That the convict make a down payment of 50% (D52,500) of the total amount of fine; upon the payment as ordered above, the convict shall be released on bail with a Gambian surety in the sum of D75,000. The surety shall deposit his/her original ID card with the Court Registrar; the balance of the fine shall be liquidated by monthly installments of D10,000 until the whole outstanding sum is fully paid, and if the convict defaults in any one payment, the whole outstanding sum shall become due and failure of payment, the convict shall be arrested and sent to Mile 2 to serve the default imprisonment term,” she concluded.
Sub-Inspector Jammeh represented the IGP, and walked out of the court victoriously.
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