From Samuel Duodu, Fiapre
THE Fiapre Circuit Court in the Sunyani West District of the Brong Ahafo Region presided over by Mr Justice Benjamin Yaw Osei, has sentenced a charcoal seller to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour for possessing 23 sacks and two parcels of narcotic drugs known as “Indian Hemp or Marijuana”.
The hemp had a gross weight of 540,000grammes.
The convict, Elizabeth Babio, who pleaded not guilty was found guilty on the charge of possessing narcotic drug under section 2 (1) of PNDC Law 236/90.
Elizabeth was transporting the bags of Indian Hemp, concealed under some bags of charcoal, on board a KIA Cargo truck with registration number GR 5542 Z to Obuasi in the Ashanti Region when the vehicle was intercepted at Tadieso barrier near Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The court also ordered that the 23 bags and the two parcels of the illicit drug be burnt by the Police, the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the court in the full glare of the public.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Osei said he took into consideration the fact that the convict had been in prison custody since April 25, 2009 to date which Article 14 clause 6 of the 1992 Constitution mandates the court to take into account the period that the convict has spent in custody.
The facts of the case were that on April 24, 2009, a KIA cargo truck with registration number GR 5542 Z which was conveying the charcoal for the convict was intercepted at the Tadieso barrier near Techiman.
Apart from the driver, those on board the vehicle at that time were the convict and two others.
The CEPS officers, who intercepted the vehicle at the barrier, conducted a search on the vehicle and revealed the 23 sacks and two parcels of Indian Hemp which had been concealed under the charcoal.
According to the arresting officers at the barrier, the convict admitted ownership of the Indian Hemp at the barrier but claimed that they were six bags.
The convict and the others, who were on board the truck, were brought to the CEPS Regional Headquarters in Sunyani on April 25, 2009 where a thorough search of the cargo revealed 23 sacks and two parcels of the Indian Hemp.
The Regional CEPS officers, who were at the scene of inspection, told the court that the accused person over there admitted ownership of all the Indian Hemp and based on these facts, the accused was charged with the offence while the driver and the two others on board the vehicle were discharged by the court.