Crime & Punishment of Friday, 15 February 2013
A 40-year-old fisherman sent the audience in a courtroom laughing when he pleaded with the judge to reduce his 18-month jail term as he would provide him with fish after serving his sentence.
Kotey Neequaye, the convict said, “My Lord please reduce the sentence and as soon as I finish serving my jail term, I will come and give you some fish.”
But the trial judge, Mr. Francis Obiri, told the convict that he was a vegetarian and was not interested in the fish.
This sent the audience in the courtroom laughing.
Neequaye and his accomplice Emmanuel Quaynor were being held for use of narcotic drugs namely cannabis.
The two had pleaded not guilty earlier and had since been on remand for the past eight months.
On reaching the court this morning, Neequaye told the court that he and his accomplice wanted to change their plea to guilty as he was prepared to go and serve his jail term and eat the food served by the Ghana Prison Service.
Mr. George Asamani, who acted as a friend of the court, prayed the court that many people in custody had some misconception about the use of the drug, stressing that some use them for medicinal purpose without considering the criminal implications associated with them.
Mr. Asamani said some believed that cannabis was used in healing asthma and rheumatism among other illnesses and that they had learnt some lessons whiles in incarceration.
Counsel therefore prayed the court to reduce his sentence as he had already been in custody for eight months and also advanced in age.
The court after considering defence counsel’s prayer reduced his sentence to 12 months and cautioned him.
The court heard that personnel of the Narcotic Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department on the May 9 last year had information that Neequaye was dealing in narcotic drugs, namely cannabis, at the James Town Accra beach.
When police got there they saw Neequaye cutting some dried leaves suspected to be cannabis and was arrested and in his cautioned statement he claimed the drug was given to him by Quaynor to process them for distribution.
Neequaye led the police to a wooden structure where Quaynor lived but he was not there. On June 1 last year, Neequaye re-appeared before the court and he spotted Quaynor within the court premises.
Neequaye pointed Quaynor out to the police as the person who gave him the drug to process for sale and he was arrested.