BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
COURT has imposed a three-year sentence on a man guilty for demanding money by false pretence.
Sam Ngedea pleaded guilty to 25 counts of False Pretence Contrary to section 308(a) of the Penal Code [Cap 26].
Principal Magistrate Felix Hollison in passing sentence said the defendant impersonated himself as the husband and later as the son of the same woman who visited the complainant’s bedroom once.
Hollison said reading through the facts provided before the court and considering submissions from the prosecution and defence lawyers, a custodial sentence is appropriate for the case.
He imposed a four-year sentence however due to delay incurred he deducted 12 months leaving three years for the accused to serve in jail.
“Thus, I now sentence him to three years (36 months) imprisonment. The pre-sentence-custody period, if any, must be duly deducted as well,” Hollison said.
Hollison said in his sentence that the defendant clearly planned the offending and used the name of custom and infidelity to demand money from the aged victim. The aged victim agreed to pay the compensation to the defendant on installment basis because he was threatened and he also believed that the representation made was true.
The offence of false pretence was repeated for 25 consecutive times that culminated in the total loss of approximately $25,800.
“The repetition is an aggravation and I am obliged to impart a strong deterrent message by imposing the appropriate sentence.
“In this present case, the lack of restitution on the part of the defendant is an aggravation which means that the complainant suffered unwarranted and unnecessary monetary losses that may never be recovered.
“I understand that I can also invoke section 27 of the Penal Code [Cap 26] to order the defendant to reimburse the money taken by way of compensation, however, I refuse to do so because I opined that the defendant will be punished appropriately by the custodial sentence that he will serve in this case. There is nothing that stops the defendant to consider reimbursing the complainant’s money later upon his release.”
He highlighted that the current case is a classic example of someone who falsely impersonated another person or other persons and exerted threats on the victim under the name of culture or custom to extort money from a vulnerable and aged member of the community unlawfully and unfairly for his own benefit. The most appropriate sentence is none other but a custodial sentence to teach the defendant a lesson. The combined aggregate sentence in this case serves as a warning to the members of the public not to involve in such deceitful and unlawful activities to gain money.
Steward Tonowane of the Office of the Director Public Prosecution appears for the crown while Lazarus Waroka of the Public Solicitor’s office represents the accused.