The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 24-year-old male student of the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) to five days imprisonment with hard labour for unlawful possession of psychotropic substances, namely 0.4 grammes of marijuana.
And Magistrate Judy Chiyaika has warned the convict, Chiza Chilanga, to change his ways, saying if found with drugs in future, he would be sent to the High Court where the offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Particulars of the offence in this matter were that Chiza Chilanga, on August 27, 2018, in Lusaka, did possess psychotropic substances namely 0.4 grammes of marijuana, a herbal product of cannabis sativa, without lawful authority.
Chilanga had last week admitted to the charge, saying the drugs were meant for smoking.
He had, however, admitted that he had no lawful authority to possess the said drugs.
When the matter came up for sentencing before Magistrate Chiyaika’s court, Wednesday, Chilanga said in mitigation, through his lawyer, that he had faced a lot of stigma and marginalisation, especially from his fellow students, which had been torturous.
He added that if given a chance, he would grow into a better citizen.
“He is in his early twenties; if given a chance he can be rehabilitated to grow into a youthful citizen. As a mark of his remorse, he pleaded guilty to the charge without wasting the court’s time. The 0.4 grammes found on the convict was meant for his use, though unlawful, and not meant to be trafficked to another person. He has faced a lot of stigma and marginalisation, especially from his fellow students. This has been torturous,” Chilanga, through his lawyer, said.
And passing judgement, Magistrate Chiyaika sentenced Chilanga to five days imprisonment with hard labour.
She warned him to change his ways, saying if found with drugs in future, he would be sent to the High Court where the offence carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.
“I have taken note of the guilty plea and you deserve leniency. However, the offence is on the increase, especially among students, and there is need to deter would-be offenders. I sentence you to five days imprisonment with hard labour with effect from today. This should be your turning point because in future if you are found with drugs you will be sent to the High Court where this offence carries a maximum of 10 years,” ruled Magistrate Chiyaika.