MULENGA MUSONDA writes
A ZAMBIA National Service employee and a final year Clinical Medicine student have been slapped with a six-week community service sentence for trafficking in over 500 grammes of marijuana.
Appearing before the Choma Magistrates Court were Martin Mwaka23, a student and James Dowati, 21 a ZNS civilian employee. They were charged with trafficking in psychotropic substances contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that the duo trafficked in 512 gms of marijuana, a herbal product of cannabis sativa without lawful authority or medical recommendation.
In convicting the two, Mwaka who was visibly seen crying in the dock after giving his mitigation asked the court to give him a second chance as exams were just around the corner.
He appealed to the court that other than just being a good ambassador of change, he wanted to complete his education and support his struggling mother who has put in everything to see him succeed.
Mwaka made his plea when the matter came up for facts before Senior Resident Magistrate Idah Mupemo.
According to the facts read by Senior Public Prosecutor Alex Syulikwa, the two were apprehended by Drug Enforcement Commission Officers on 22 June, 2020.
This was after they received a tip that some occupants of a certain house in Shampande B Township were in the habit of smoking suspected marijuana.
He said when the officers booked out to the area and identified the house, they were greeted by the smell of Cannabis immediately they entered the vicinity of the yard.
A search in the house led to the recovery of 512 grammes of suspected Cannabis concealed in a transparent plastic bag with some on the ash tray.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Mupemo exercised maximum lenience and committed them to six weeks community service and in default to face nine months imprisonment with hard labour.
She wondered whether the educational and sensitisation programmes of the Drug Enforcement Commission are effective as drug-related offences have sky rocketed in the district.