Principal Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on the 23rd August, 2022, sent a strong warning to law offenders by convicting and sentencing one Momodou Bah to 5 years imprisonment in hard labour in count one: breaking into a building with intent to commit a felony contrary to Section 283 (a) of the Criminal Code) and 4 years imprisonment in hard labour in count two (stealing contrary to Section 252 of the Criminal Code).
He awarded a compensation of D2,842.50 for the unrecovered 50 Euro or in default the convict to serve 2 years imprisonment in hard labour, and all sentences to run concurrently. He also ordered that Exhibit B (D250,000) be returned to the owner and Exhibit C (a screw driver) was forfeited to the IGP.
In his judgement, he stated that he had listened to the plea in mitigation by the convict. He posited that he had taken note of the fact that he was a first-time offender. He had also taken note that he pleaded guilty. “I have taken note of the offences and the manner in which they were committed. The offences charged are serious ones,” he said.
He adduced that he has always been saying breaking into people’s buildings and shops for the purposes of stealing are very rampant in the country. “People responsible for the commission of these heinous crimes have turned the society into terror,” he told the court.
He noted that the society is so terrorised and helpless that they are even now resorting to mob justice. He added that stealing has resulted in the death of many. “So many lost their lives to thieves who stabbed them to death for failing to surrender the items they tried to steal from them. Also the issue of mob justice has resulted to the death of so many thieves because of the society’s loss of faith and confidence in the criminal justice system of the country,” he stated.
He further posited that this is why the need for the criminal justice administrators to step up and put an end to all these unfortunate issues. “If the society regains trust and confidence in our criminal justice system, the issues of mob justice will be wiped out. Also, when thieves know that it will not be an easy ride for them in courts, stealing will be wiped out and significantly reduced to at least make people feel at ease with their properties,” he stressed.
He said that the act of breaking and stealing from Bureau de Change is rampant in the country. “They are constantly under attack now and some corrective measures need to be put in place for would-be perpetrators of crimes of breaking from Bureaus. The convict is inconsiderate and will not escape the wrath of the law,” he told the court.
In his mitigation, the convict said: “I beg the court to forgive me. I am married with three children and I take care of my elderly mother who lives at Basse. I will not commit such offences again.”
Inspector Badjie and 1st Class 5756 Nuha Bojang represented the IGP.