The convict was charged with the offence of robbery contrary to Section (32) Sub Section (2) of the larceny act of 1916, as repealed and replaced with by Section (2) of the imperial statute criminal law adoption amendment act N0. 16 of 1971, and that the convict Francis Conteh 3 May 2016 along Kroo Town road in the Freetown judicial district in the western area in the republic of Sierra Leone robbed, Alhaji Sallieu Jalloh of two bags containing one hundred and fifty united state dollars.
Convict, Francis Conteh who later pleaded guilty to the offence charged robbed the complainant of one Samsung mobile phone, one Techno mobile phone, blood test sugar machine, one packet blood strep, one torch light, assorted medical drugs, physical cash of two million two hundred and fifty thousand leones, one LCD machine, a good sum of Liberian dollars, one passport book, holy Quran, stamping machine, all to the total value of twelve million, two hundred and ninety five leones.
In her plea of mitigation before judgment was slammed on the convict, lawyer Cecilia Taulker from the Legal Aid Board who represented the convict canvassed the presiding judge to tamper justice with mercy, as the convict has spent almost a year at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba road in Freetown .
She told the well attended court proceedings that her client had realized his fault and he did not waste the court’s time to plead guilty to the offence of robbery and the convict was a very young man within the age of twenty four years old, stating that the Bench should give the convict a second chance to transform his life into useful and responsible cictizen.
The convict, she further was first time offender of the law and that if given an alternative sentence she would cautioned him, considering the fact that the penalty for such offence found guilty by a competent court of law was life imprisonment.
After listening to counsel’s plea of mitigation on behalf of her client, the presiding judge Justice Ernest Gooding began by stating that he was charged with the responsibility of defending the Sierra Leonean populace against hoodlums and criminal, and that he released the accused he would be sending a wrong message to the general public.
He maintained that the convict went to the extent of stealing the Holy Quran and he was not going listened to the convict counsel, Cecilia Taulker’s plea of mitigation, on the grounds that robbery, armed robbery and other felonious crimes were on the increase in Freetown capital and elsewhere.
Justice Gooding informed his audience that he wished the convict Francis Conteh long life, but not happiness, as his crude and uncivilized behavior had left the complainant with severe pain and sorrow, as he understood that the complainant was to amputate his hand of feet.
He recapitulated the evidence adduced against the convict that he was hired by the complainant around Ferry Junction intercession in the east of Freetown to take him to Kroo Town road in central Freetown, and when they arrived at Kroo Town road late in the night, the convict pretended as if his vehicle had developed engine problem.
The convict, he explained requested the complainant Alhaji Sallieu Jalloh help him to kick start the vehicle , and it was during the process the convict Francis Conteh rushed into the vehicle and sped off, leaving the complainant with damaged hand and feet, until he was chased and arrested by some police officers.
‘I am aware that citizens and non citizens no longer enjoy peaceful night rest and the sweet fruit of their labor, as armed robbers and other notorious criminals have found love in the habit of attacking and robbing people especially at night, and if any accused appears before his court, he will not go scot free, but will send him or her to prison for a very long term,’ justice Gooding warned.
He said he was sentencing the convict to ten years imprisonment at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba road in Freetown, so that when he returned from prison after serving his jail term, he would become a useful and responsible citizen who contribute to the development of his country.
Justice Ernest Gooding also ordered that the vehicle which the convict used to carry out his dastard act, be confiscated to the state and some of the complainant’s belongings which were later retrieved be returned to him.