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City of Banjul
Friday, October 15, 2021

Appellant gets his sentence increased instead

By Bruce Asemota

The High Court presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh has increased the sentence imposed by the Kanifing Magistrates Court on one Dodou Camara who was convicted and initially sentenced to two years in jail for stealing a vehicle in 2019.

Camara who was dissatisfied with the judgment, lodged an appeal at the High Court, seeking the court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction and temper justice with mercy and reduce the sentence to the time served in prison custody.

Delivering judgment, the trial judge disclosed that the appeal gave rise to only one issue which is whether the sentence imposed on the appellant was manifestly excessive.

The trial Judge said the appellant was charged with stealing a motor vehicle and that the punishment for an offender is that the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of ten years.

Justice Jaiteh stated that the sentence was not excessive and did not see any illegality in the sentence and did not believe that the sentence was wrong in law as submitted by the appellant’s counsel.

He further stated that the modern trend in the administration of the criminal justice system requires that the court should give offenders the punishment which is proportionate to the offence taking into consideration such factors like the seriousness of the offence, protection of public and mitigating circumstances.

Justice Jaiteh pointed out that Dodou Camara has been callous and reckless in the commission of this unlawful act.

He asserted that stealing is a cankerworm that is eating deeply into the fabric of our society’s daily lives, adding that stealing has the potential to weaken the economic base of the state which must be discouraged totally.

Justice Jaiteh invoked powers given to the High Court and accordingly increased the sentence from two years to ten years but ordered that the unspent eight (8) years be suspended.

He declared that if the appellant commits any offence known to the law within the period of the suspended 8 years, the appellant should be arrested and committed to prison custody and serve the suspended 8 years.

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