Written by Daniel Namwini & Ireen Kayira
Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s court has sentenced a Nigerian national to four months Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) but suspended to two years for illegally possessing cocaine drugs.
Lingadzi Police Spokesperson, Salomy Zgambo said the convict, Jude Okwuchukwu, 40, was found guilty on Wednesday for illegal possession of drugs contrary to Regulation 14 of the Dangerous drugs as read with Section 19 (1) of the Dangerous drugs Act.
The court heard through state prosecutor, Inspector Robert Kufandiko that on January 24, 2020, the convict was found with eight pieces of cocaine drugs which he was pegging at K500 per crack in Area 49.
“Illicit drugs are described as harmful since they cause brain disorder to the consumer and cocaine addicts are prone to commit offences since they are induced by drugs,” Kufandiko said.
The prosecutor, therefore, prayed that a custodial sentence be imposed because he was of the view that the aggravating factors much outweigh the mitigating factors.
He also asked for the accused person to be deported back to Nigeria to save Malawian youth from going astray due to drug abuse.
Okwuchukwu’s lawyer, Counsel Chrispine Ndalama, argued for leniency on the convict saying he had not wasted the court’s time owing to a plea of guilty his client had entered.
Counsel Ndalama also reminded the court that the accused person was the first offender, citing that as another mitigating factor that the court should consider in its sentencing.
In passing judgment, Chief Resident Magistrate Violet Chipao said that apart from the issue of good character and plea of guilty, there was the issue of possessing of drugs on the accused.
“Court found strong mitigating factors which outweighed the aggravating circumstances,” Chipao said.
The court, therefore, proceeded to sentence the Nigerian drug dealer to four months Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) but suspended to two years in view of mitigations presented before the court.
Okwuchukwu who comes from Anambra State in Nigeria is currently remanded at Maula Prison awaiting deportation back to Nigeri