By Amadou Jadama
Magistrate Muhammed Krubally of Banjul has convicted and sentenced one Lamin Kijera to a mandatory jail term of five years for stealing from the shop of one Mustapha Jammeh located at the Banjul ferry terminal.
The presiding magistrate also ordered that Mr Kijera should pay a compensation of D24,125 to the victim in default to serve another year in prison.
According to the particulars of offence, Lamin Kijera on 4th July this year, stole various food items totaling D24, 125, being the properties of Mustapha Jammeh, a shopkeeper.
When the presiding magistrate asked the accused whether he understood the preferred charges against him, he responded in the affirmative, but only accepted stealing some items, and not others mentioned in the charge sheet.
The trial magistrate said since the accused accepted stealing some items and denied the rest, he entered a not guilty verdict but as he was about to adjourn the case, Lamin Kijera said: “Your worship, I have candidly assessed my conscience and now, I am accepting responsibility of the charge preferred against me and that I stole everything in the charge sheet.”
The convict also begged the court, saying that though it is true that he had three previous convictions by the Essau court, he now changed his attitude and is living with his mother.
In his ruling, Magistrate Krubally stated that he took into consideration the nature of the charge and also took into account the voluntary judicial admission of the accused and changing his plea without duress.
“I have also taken into account three previous convictions of the accused in Essau magistrates’ court which the accused confirmed and the court too confirmed. This meant the accused is a habitual offender who keeps going around stealing people’s properties, breaking into people’s shops leaving them as victims and thereby causing them economic hardship which this court cannot entertain at all,” he said.
“Ater the three convictions of the accused in Essau magistrate’s court, this particular conviction by this court shall be the fourth. That being the case, even though the accused expressed his actions to the instant case, in my assessment of his demeanour I did not find any element of remorse in him. I hereby accordingly sentence the accused Lamin Kijera to five years in prison,” the magistrate concluded.
Prosecuting officer, Corporal 5309 FF Kujabi represented the IGP.