By CrossRiverWatch admin
A Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State has jailed four persons for being in possession of cannabis sativa, popularly referred to as Indian hemp.
The four persons, who were apprehended at different times in the state, were Grace Etim (female 32); Obini Mathias (male, 65); Sunday Imoh (male, 19); and Wisdom Philip (male, 20).
Separate judgments delivered by Justice I.E. Ikwo and made available to the Punch on Friday, showed that Mathias was apprehended by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in his house in Alok village, Ikom Local Government Area of the state for being in possession of 9.45kg of Indian hemp.
The 65-year-old first-time offender was jailed for two years and six months without any option of fine with effect from December 19, 2015.
Mathias admitted guilt when the one-count charge was read to him.
According to the first prosecution witness, Ochika Simon (a deputy superintendent), a team of NDLEA officers caught the convict with the Indian hemp neatly concealed in a white sack in his house.
Ikwo noted, “Prosecution says the convict has no record of previous conviction. This means that the convict is a first-time offender. It is the law that the court is not to visit the whole weight of the law on the person that is a first-time offender.
“I will take this into consideration and exercise leniency by not imposing maximum sentence. The convict is hereby sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment with effect from December 19, 2015 without option of fine.”
In the charge number FHC/CA/CR/63/2015 involving Sunday Imoh and Wisdom Philip, the first-time offenders had no legal representations and had to stand in for themselves.
The duo, who pleaded guilty to the offence, were caught with 250 grams of Indian hemp on October 3, 2015 at the Mammy Market, Akim Barracks in Calabar Municipality LGA.
In his judgment, Justice Ikwo said, “The first convict (Imoh) is sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment with effect from October 3, 2015 without option of fine, while the second convict (Philip) is sentenced to one year imprisonment with effect from October 3, 2015.”
The only female convict (Grace Etim), who was caught with 3.7kg of Indian hemp in her house in the maternity area of Akpabuyo LGA on January 13, 2016, was sentenced to two years imprisonment without option of fine.
Etim, who was also a first-time offender, pleaded guilty to the one count levelled against her.
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