KEETMANSHOOP – A 49-year-old man was yesterday fined N$ 500 or alternatively thirty days’ imprisonment for possession of dagga.
Benedictus Valein was convicted for possessing 25 grams of cannabis in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court and fine N$500 for th e offence. He was arrested with drugs worth N$ 75 in Keetmanshoop last week on Thursday.
Valein’s defence was that while he was walking he found a plastic bag, picked it up and put it in his pocket.
He pleaded guilty to the charge, but told the court that he does not smoke cannabis and as such the court should suspend his sentence.
This amused Magistrate Frans Anderson jokingly asked the accused if he was willing to pay N$4 000 as a fine to which the accused responded he was prepared to pay that sum.
During mitigation, Valein informed the court that he is a bricklayer who earns N$2 000 – N$3 000 per month, has no dependants and no earthly possessions and is staying with his sister.
The magistrate found him guilty of the offence based on his own guilty plea and castigated him for his story he told the court.
“Every second person who comes into this court tells the story of ‘I was there at the hiking spot and I saw a plastic bag and I picked it up,” he said.
Anderson told Valein to treat items on the ground like landmines and not to pick them up but rather to report such objects and he rebuked him to be mindful of his age and not hang around under bridges.
“You should learn not to drink with friends under bridges or under trees. At your age (49) you should sit at home in the sitting room or at the back of the house,” he said in a stern voice.
By Jemima Beukes