Court imposes $500 fine on man convicted of making homebrew

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PRINCIPAL Magistrate Felix Hollison has imposed a fine of $500 on a man who plead guilty of brewing homebrew on April 5, 2018 at a village in Isabel province.

The accused man Cameron Vinale pleaded guilty to one count of making liquor without the proper ministerial approval and authorisation contrary to section 50(2) (c) of the Liquor Act [Cap 144] read with section 21 of the Penal Code [Cap 26]. 

According to the facts before the court the incident occurred on April 5, 2018 at Hurepelo Village in Isabel.

Hollison explained that a person who, without the prior approval of the Minister-(c) makes or assists in making liquor, is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of one thousand two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 In 2009, the Penalties Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2009 (No 14 of 2009) had increased the 1200 dollars maximum penalty to 30,000 penalty units.

Hollison said consumption of homebrew or Kwaso has adverse health repercussions. The percentage of alcohol contained in an illegally brewed alcohol such as Kwaso is not professionally ascertained, and there is no certification confirming that it is safe for consumption.

“I take judicial notice of the fact that the illegal production of alcohol, and also the consumption of the illegally brewed alcohol have caused many social and health problems throughout the country and each and every one should refrain from involving in such activities,” Hollison said.

He also said the sentencing principles such as punishment, retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation must always be taken into account and considered when formulating and ascertaining the appropriate sentence for a case.

Hollison said each case when sentencing must be based on its own merits, and essentially, it should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence.

Therefore, this present case is not very serious compared to other past cases because the defendant did not produce it for commercial purposes, thus a fine of fine $500 is appropriate for this case, Hollison said.