From Samuel Duodu,
A middle-aged man has been sentenced to a fine of GH¢120 by the Kintampo Magistrate’s Court for stealing maize valued at GH¢480.
Kwabena Bour would spend the next four months in prison in default of the fine.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing and causing unlawful damage.
The court also ordered him to pay compensation of GH¢500 to the complainant, Kofi Appiah Adjei, 34, owner of the maize.
Before his conviction, Bour told the court, presided over by Mr Albert Zoogah, that he had three children and a wife that he needed to cater for so he decided to steal the maize to sell and give the proceeds to his wife for their upkeep.
Giving an account of how he stole the maize, Bour said he went to the farm of the complainant in the night and when he dehusked the maize, he carried it in bits and hid his booty in a bush and went for it later, saying he went in the night because that was the time the wife had left for church.
Bour further told the court that he burnt the husk because he did not want the owner to know the quantity he had stolen.
Despite the detailed explanation of his act, the presiding magistrate sentenced him on his own plea.
Passing the sentence, the magistrate said he took into consideration the ages of the children of the convict who were four, seven and nine years, as well as the convict being a first offender.
Mr Zoogah explained further that he decided to give the convict a lean punishment so that he would come out early from prison if he could pay the fine immediately to work and pay the GH¢500 compensation awarded to the complainant.
The facts of the case as presented by Police Inspector Wisdom Ahiakpor, were that both the complainant and the accused were farmers residing at Amoma, near Jema in the Kintampo South District of the Brong Ahafo Region.
He said about three weeks ago, the complainant started harvesting his four-acre maize farm and gathered about 12 bags of maize waiting to send them home.
Inspector Ahiakpor said when the complainant visited his farm early in the morning on January 10, 2010, he detected that someone had caused damage to the heaped maize by setting fire to it. He reported the case to the youth association in the town by name the Concerned Citizens.
The prosecutor said on January 14, 2010, a witness in the case who is also the leader of the association, spotted the accused trying to sell one bag of maize to someone in the town and because the witness knew that the convict did not have any farm in the area, he caused his arrest and handed him together with the bag of maize to the police.
Inspector Ahiakpor said in the convict’s cautioned statement, he admitted the offence and blamed the devil for his action.