It is pertinent to use this medium to address the controversy going round on the sentence and conviction of an accused person that committed several offences in respect of and connected with stealing the mobile telephone of Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
Even though the banner headline is that the accused was sentenced to 45 years for stealing a phone, the reality goes more than that.
The accused was convicted on a six count charge and the details are contained herein.
The accused was actually sentenced to 10 years each for the offences of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence from one lawyer Shenge Rahman and Oba Aromolaran – the Owa Obokun of Ijesa land.
These three offences by law carry maximum sentence of 20 years each and minimum sentence of 7 years each. The implication of this is that the judge cannot sentence the accused for less than 7 years for each of the offences, which are without option of fine.
The accused was further sentenced to 5 years each for the count of stealing and 2 counts for impersonation of the Governor to two separate persons to wit; Barrister Shenge Rahmon and Oba Adekunle Aromolaran which offences have terms of imprisonment of 7 years each.
It is to be noted that the sentences were ordered to run concurrently. Therefore, technically, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Be that as it may, what weighed on the mind of the judge- Hon. Justice Jide Falola are the facts that emerged from the allocutus.
They are as follows;
1. The convicted criminal was actually in prison for the offences of murder and fraud before the present offence was committed by him.
2. The convict had jumped bail in the pendency of the current trial.
3. During the course of jumping bail, the convict also attempted to commit the offence of obtaining by false pretence with the phone number of Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State.
These facts weighed on the mind of the judge that the convict is a persistent, chronic and unrepentant criminal who ought to be put behind bars as a deterrent to people of similar nefarious tendency and to reaffirm the Osun Judiciary’s resolve to make a positive difference in the enforcement of rule of law.