The Supreme Court has ordered a 26-year-old man to perform 40 hours of community work within 12 months by clearing the bushes at the old Supreme Court Building site that was burned down in June 2007.
Delivering his judgement on Criminal Case No 2340 of 2019 regarding the man who had marijuana when he was caught by the police at the Seafront area almost five years ago, Justice Oliver Saksak told accused Silas Mahit, “I consider that the appropriate sentence consistent with the other case authorities in this Court and the Court of Appeal, shall be a custodial sentence with suspension, and with an order for community work.”
On 6th December 2014, Mahit was caught by the police at the Seafront area. Upon searching him, the police found leaves of marijuana or cannabis on him. He had wrapped it in aluminium paper foil. In his statement of admission to the police on 7th December 2014, the suspect explained that he had found a small plant of cannabis growing by the fence of his employer at the house near Shefa Provincial Council Headquarters. He told police that he then removed the plant and transplanted it in a black plastic bag.
That was in August 2014. He harvested the leaves on 1st December 2014 and uprooted the plant. He rolled the leaves up in the aluminium foil and carried it around in his bag. The quantity of the leaves was 24.82 grams as the net weight. The gross weight was 31.20 grams.
The Court convicted Mahit on the charge of possession of cannabis.
Justice Saksak sentenced the accused to a starting point of 16 months imprisonment.
“In mitigation, I take into consideration the delay of 5 years in prosecuting your case, the custom ceremony you performed showing remorse, your clean past and your cooperation with the police.
"I deduct 4 months out of your 16 months’ sentence. The balance shall be 12 months imprisonment,” Justice Saksak ruled.
The judge then reduced the sentence by a further one-third for guilty plea at the first opportunity and the accused’s end sentence was 8 months imprisonment. This was however suspended for a period of 2 years from the date of the sentence. This means the accused did not have to go to prison and remains in the community but on condition that he does not repeat the same offence again or any other offence for which he would be charged and convicted.
“If you do, you will go to prison to serve your sentence of 8 months,” the judge told Mahit.
Justice Saksak also considered that he should impose an additional sentence of community work under sections 58N and 58P of the Penal Code Act.
Mahit was therefore ordered to do community service or work for a period of 40 hours, commencing on November 1, 2019. His performance is monitored by the Correctional Services.