Justice Sam Margai yesterday sentenced three hardcore criminals to five years imprisonment each, after they voluntarily pleaded guilty.
Edmond Kanu, Mohamed Aruna and Alpha Kargbo were charged initially with the offense of robbery with aggravation but state prosecutor A.G.M. Bockarie amended the charges last month to robbery.
Police at the Criminal Investigations Department in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone, had charged the men with four counts of conspiracy and robbery with aggravation contrary to section 23 (1)(a) of the Larceny Act of 1916.
According to the particulars of offense, the accused persons on diverse dates between 28 to 29 June 2012 conspired with other unknown persons to commit felony, to wit robbery in Kenema.
The Police alleged that the accused persons were armed with a pistol and knives when they robbed Hadric Amara Kanu, Joseph Koroma and Sumaila Foray Musa of properties valued approximately Le25 million.
Last week, defense counsel F.B Conteh told the trial judge that his clients had been in incarceration since their arrest in July 2012, thus pleading with the judge to temper justice with mercy since they have changed their plea.
However, the prosecutor said the accused persons had wasted the court’s time by first denying the charges, and urged the court to slam full sentencing.
In his ruling, Justice Margai agreed with the prosecutor that the accused persons should have pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier stage instead of elect to waste the court’s time.
“Since the accused persons have changed their plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’ on all four count charges on their own volitions, I will sentence them as dictated by the law. If they would have done so earlier than this time, I would have given them soft sentences. But better late than never,” noted the judge, prior to sentencing the men to five years in jail.