An FCT Senior Magistrates’ Court in Karu on Monday sentenced a 16-year-old boy (name withheld) to seven days imprisonment for stealing a Blackberry phone worth N50,000.
The minor, who lived at Karu village, was arraigned by the police before Senior Magistrate Sharon Tanko on a one-count charge of theft.
Tanko sentenced the accused after he pleaded guilty to the offence as well as for leniency.
According to her, the accused pleaded guilty to the offence and sounded remorseful.
“The law has to take its course on him.
“The prosecutor just informed the court that the accused has no previous criminal record, but he must be punished to serve as deterrent to similar offenders out there.
“I hereby exercise my discretion by sentencing the accused to seven days imprisonment or option of N2,000 fine.
“Any aggrieved party not satisfied by the judgement has 30 days to file an appeal,” she ruled.
The defence counsel, Mr G.T Adegbite, who offered a pro-bono service in the matter, asked the court to temper justice with mercy considering the age of the accused as a teenager.
“The principle of Bonafide Vacantia should be applied to the alleged stolen phone because the accused said he found the phone on the ground and sold it.
“The prosecutor should prove his case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged offence instead of relying on his plea to strengthen this case.
“I urge the court to discharge the accused by striking out the matter, as there is no enough evidence for the court to tailor its discretion in favour of the prosecution,” he said.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Stephen Eimogan of Karu Police Station had earlier told the court that the convict committed the offence on June 6.
Eimogan said the convict stole a Blackberry phone belonging to one Suleiman Aliyu of Defence Headquarters, Abuja, inside his car and sold it at N2,500.
He said the boy confessed during interrogation in the station that he committed the crime but could not identify the person he sold the phone to so as to recover it.
The prosecutor said the offence contravened section 286 of the Penal Code. [NAN]