Principal Magistrate of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.1, Dr. Abou Bakarr Binneh-Kamara, yesterday sentenced one Michael Max Massaquoi, who identified himself as a student of the Milton Magai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) to either service three months imprisonment at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road or pay a fine of Le500,000.
The accused pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis sativa. He was charged with one count of unlawful possession of cannabis sativa contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution had alleged that on 26 February, 2016 he was arrested at the Albert Academy School at Berry Street with some quantity of cannabis sativa.
Speaking from the dock, Massaquoi said he is an Asthma patient and that he uses cannabis sativa for medicinal purpose, adding that he was neither a dealer nor a habitual smoker of the banned substance.
Pleading on behalf of the accused, lawyer C.B. Davies said he was informed that his client was asthmatic and that he uses cannabis as cure for his ailment.
He said the accused did not intend to waste the time of the court, thus pleaded guilty as charged, although he uses the substance for its medicinal value.
In his sentencing statement, Magistrate Dr. Binneh-Kamara said ignorance of the law was no excuse and that whenever people are caught with cannabis, they pretend being asthmatic patients, albeit with no medical evidence to prove that fact.
“This is my judgment, I order that the accused person service a jail term of three months imprisonment with alternative fine of five hundred thousand Leones,” he ruled.