MUTINTA HADUNKA, Ndola
A CONVICTED drug trafficker of Ndola could not believe his luck yesterday when a magistrates’ court sentenced him to two months imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking in marijuana.
He piously knelt before the bench to express his gratitude.
Apparently, 25-year-old John Phiri had expected a harsher prison sentence of, perhaps, one year and was pleasantly amazed to get away with what he deemed to be a welcome slap on the wrist.
To demonstrate how thankful he was for the light sentence, he knelt down in the dock facing magistrate Oswald Chibalo and conveyed his gratitude.
On Wednesday, Phiri pleaded guilty to trafficking in 5.2 grammes of marijuana or cannabis sativa, a prohibited psychotropic substance.
The facts were that on May 23 this year in Ndola, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) officers apprehended Phiri at Genuine Pub in Kawama township.
After searching him, they found marijuana in his pockets, which led to his arrest.
In mitigation, Phiri asked the court to be lenient with him because he was married with a child to care for and pledged never to handle or deal in marijuana again.
“Prison is not a friendly place. I have learnt so much in the little time I have been there and I will never deal in or even touch drugs again,” a remorseful Phiri told the court.
The moving mitigation seemed to have worked.
Magistrate Chibalo then sentenced Phiri to 60 days in prison with hard labour.
“I have listened to the statement of facts and to your mitigation, and I sentence you to 60 days imprisonment with hard labour,” Mr Chibalo said.