A 20 year old student has survived jail time after the court granted him one year probation for possession and trafficking of drugs after his father prayed that the court be lenient in its judgement.
This is a matter in which Siboonde Siatontola, 20, is charged with two counts of trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances contrary to section 6 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act Chapter 96 of the laws of Zambia
In the first count, it is alleged that Siatontola, on the 4th of April 2020, in Lusaka did traffic in psychotropic substances, namely 15.2 grams of marijuana, a herbal product of Cannabis Sativa without lawful authority.
In the second count, it is alleged that Siatontola, on the same day, did traffic in narcotic drugs, namely 1.6 grams of heroin without lawful authority.
The accused pleaded guilty to both counts.
When the matter came up for presentation of facts before Magistrate Felix Kaoma, senior public prosecutor Lewis Kandele told the court that Siatontola was reported to the Drug Enforcement Commission by his father, Charles Siatontola, after finding him in possession of suspected drugs.
Kandele said that when officers proceeded to interview the father to ascertain how the drugs were found on the accused, he narrated that his son was fond of causing havoc in the community and at home.
He explained that on the material day, Siatontola went home drunk which prompted the father to conduct a search on him and found suspected marijuana and 28 sachets of narcotic drugs in the front pocket of the trouser he was wearing.
Kandele added that the accused was then shown what was handed over to DEC officers by his father and admitted ownership after which he was put in custody and the suspected drugs seized.
And when asked by the court if the fact were correct, Siatontola responded in the affirmative and opted not to add or subtract anything.
In mitigation, Siatontola asked for the courts leniency and added that if given a second a chance, he wouldn’t repeat the offence.
Later, Magistrate Kaoma asked the accused’s father to tell the court what he wanted to be done to his son.
In resonse, Charles said he was having difficulties in managing the son’s use of drugs and that he reported him to the DEC in trying to seek reform, adding that he wanted the court to help him achieve that.
Charles added that at the time he was reporting Siboonde to the DEC, he was already on a detoxification program with Chainama Mental Hospital and was due for review on 21st May.
He further stated that coupled with existing programs such as counselling being offered by the DEC, he wanted to work together with the state to remind Siboonde that, unless he cooperates with the system, he would have no peace with this life.
“My prayer is that he is given leniency and warned sternly, that if he continues, he will be jailed,” pleaded Charles.
And in giving his judgement, Magistrate Kaoma told Siboonde that he was saved by his father’s plea as the offence he committed carried a maximum 25 years in prison and a minimum of 10 years for a second offender.
“I have decided to put you on probation for one year in both counts on condition that you attend rehabilitation at DEC and detoxification at Chainama. Religiously attend this or in default, you will be brought back for me to sentence you to prison. Because at the end of the day, detox is meaningless if he is still abusing the substance. If you fail, we will have no option but to send you to jail,” said Kaoma.
Magistrate Kaoma further urged the father to ensure he helps him through the probation period and ensures that he is brought back in an even that he relapses, so that he can no longer have access to the substance.
The court further urged Siboonde to comply with law enforcement officers so that those who supplied him with the drugs are gotten rid of.