27th April 2017
Why 14 Uni Students Face Nine Months Sentence Each in Freetown Prison!!
By a press release (25/03/17)
Fourteen Njala University students in Sierra Leone have been sentenced to nine months each or pay over eight hundred thousand Leones each.
Reports say families and friends of six female and eight male students of the Njala University were seen late Friday evening March 23 trying to raise the eight hundred and fifty thousand Leones to pay the fines levelled by Principal Magistrate Dr. Abu Bakarr Binneh Kamara in Freetown yesterday. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah. Sierra Leoneans want a peaceful solution to the students' grievances.
All fourteen students pleaded guilty to all three count charges they were facing. The fourteen were advised by their seven men and one lady team of lawyers since all three charges were strict liability offences which do not need a Mens Rea to prove innocence.
All the charges related to the students attempt to dialogue with the Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma in an unconventional way by setting up check points around the precincts of the Presidential Lodge in Freetown and by behaving in a riotous way and obstructing traffic and movements of people.
Mitigating for the students, Counsel Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai told the Presiding Magistrate that all of them are under parental care and that if heavy fines were levelled it could be difficult for them to pay.
He also reminded the Magistrate that years back he was like those students and must therefore understand the difficulties of being a student under harsh conditions like they are in this country.
The Prosecution didn't counter the mitigation on the grounds that they were first time offenders and that they didn't waste the court's time by pleading guilty.
Before passing sentence Magistrate Binneh told Defence Lawyers to admonish the students to refrain from anything that will put them contrary to the law.