A UNIVERSITY of Zambia student has been sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for 12 months for stealing Jameson Irish whiskey from Pick n Pay worth over K500. 

(A suspended sentence is a judicial punishment which is not enforced unless a further crime is committed during a specified period.)

Brian Chansa, 27, was alleged to have opened a bottle of Jameson in the shop and started drinking but never paid for the beer. 

In this matter Chansa, of Mongu, was facing a charge of theft. 

It was alleged that on January 24 this year, Chansa stole one Jameson Irish Whiskey valued at K578.99, the property of Pick n Pay at Levy Mall. 

When the matter came up for plea before Lusaka Magistrate Nsunge Chanda yesterday, Chansa pleaded guilty and told the court that he stole the beer because he was under pressure and that he was also intoxicated. 

He added that the other pressure was that he had no money to pay for registration. 

Facts in this matter are that on the material day, James Phiri, the complainant in this matter on behalf of Pic n Pay, received a report of theft from a security guard who was manning the CCTV and entrance to the shop.

The security guard informed Phiri, who is an administrative officer, that a man in the shop opened a bottle of Jameson and started drinking.
A description of the suspect was given to Phiri and Chansa was later apprehended by the entrance of the shop. 

Asked why he never paid for the beer, Chansa never gave a satisfactory answer and was taken to Lusaka Central police station where he was detained. 

During mitigation, Chansa said he regretted what he did and was remorseful.

He asked the court to be lenient by not sending him to jail , saying he was an orphan who had a lot of pressure at the time. 

Chansa said he was sorry to the people affected by his actions. 

In her ruling, Magistrate Chanda said she would exercise leniency considering that Chansa was a young man and had a future ahead. 

She however, said Chansa should not have resorted to stealing and drinking beer after being pressured because problems would always be there. 

Magistrate Chanda said Chansa’s behaviour was unfortunate.

She also wondered why he degraded himself to stealing beer as he was just destroying his future. 

Magistrate Chanda sentenced Chansa to six months imprisonment with hard labour but suspended for 12 months.