By Amadou Jadama
One Muhammed Beye of Kerr Kartim village in North Bank Region has been convicted and sentenced to a mandatory jail term of 10 years for the cultivation of cannabis plant and possession of prohibited drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Beye was also given an option to pay a fine of D50, 000 on count one (cultivation) in default to serve three years jail term. On count two, he is ordered to pay a fine of D1M, in default to serve additional jail term of two years.
The court further reminded the convict that he has right to appeal.
His conviction and sentencing came after Magistrate Anna O Mendy of the Farafenni court found him guilty of two count charges of cultivation of cannabis plant and possession of prohibited drugs for the purpose of drug trafficking.
He was accused of cultivating a cannabis plant in his house weighing 4kg 250g.
He is also said to have been in possession of 2kg 950g of cannabis sativa, a prohibited drug. Mr Beye denied the allegations throughout the trial.
In delivering her judgment, the trial magistrate Mendy stated that, the prosecution called witnesses and tendered exhibits to prove their case. At the close of the prosecution’s case, the court invoked section 166 of the CPC, analyzed the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the court was convinced that a prima facie case was established by the prosecution against the accused person thereby, warranting him to open his defense. He was called to open his defense in which he did and called other witnesses.
After a thorough assessment of the testimonies of all the parties’ witnesses and exhibits tendered, the court came to a conclusion that the accused person and no one else committed the offences. He was accordingly convicted as charged.
Prior to the sentencing, the convict begged that he has lost his father and his mother is old. He said he has a young wife and children, arguing that a custodial sentence would have very serious impact on him and his family.
But in passing her sentence, the presiding magistrate Mendy, told the court that, the effect of drugs in the communities is a growing concern as most Gambian youth are diagnosed with drug induced psychosis. “This is a psychiatric illness and there is need to eradicate drugs in our communities,” the magistrate said.