Mangochi First Grade Magistrate’s Court has convicted and ordered James Lucius to pay a fine of K100 000 or in default serve 36 months imprisonment with hard labour for cultivating Indian hemp (chamba).
Mangochi Police Station prosecution witness, Constable Augustine Kagwira told the court that on December 22 at around 7:00 PM the police received a tip–off from the community that the accused person had cultivated Indian hemp in his maize garden.
“The police immediately after receiving the tip rushed to the scene and found two nursery beds of the prohibited plant each bed measuring two and a half metres,” Kagwira told the court.
Lucius was arrested and the illicit seedlings which had reached transplanting stage were uprooted and tendered in court as part of evidence.
The accused pleaded guilty and admitted to the charge laid against him. In mitigation, Lucius pleaded for a lenient punishment, claiming that he looks after a big family.
However, state prosecutor pleaded for a stiffer penalty to deter others from committing a similar offence in future.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate, Ronald M’bwana concurred with the state and sentenced Lucius to pay K100,000 fine or to serve 36 months imprisonment with hard labour on the same grounds of sending a strong warning to would–be offenders.
Lucius, 34, was at the time of compiling this report still behind bars for failing to pay the fine ordered by the court.
The convict hails from Kunsauka Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi.
Cultivation of Indian hemp is contrary to Regulation 6 of Dangerous Drugs Act as read with Section 19 of the same