Cannabis for ‘Cattle’ Lands Man in the Soup

A 46-year-old man from Ongwediva who claims that the cannabis (dagga) found in his possession was intended to treat his cattle was yesterday sentenced to a fine of N$1 000 or six months’ imprisonment.

Nathanael Sheepo from Ongwediva was found in possession of 25g of cannabis valued at N$75 000, on November 26 last year. Sheepo appeared before magistrate Mutafela Likando, while prosecutor Johanna Kefas represented the State.

According to the evidence before court by state witness Detective Constable Frans Amutenya of the Oshana police, Sheepo was found with cannabis in his trouser pocket after the police were tipped off that he was selling the illegal drug at a certain shop in Ongwediva.

Sheepo indicated that he was not aware that it was illegal to possess cannabis. It is alleged that Sheepo has two other cannabis cases pending, one from Ohangwena and another also in Ongwediva.

“When I got [to the shop] with another police officer I went straight to the accused since I know him from a 2012 cannabis case and another [case] of January last year, and requested to conduct a body search and found 18 pellets of cannabis,” Hamutenya told the court.

Two other pellets were found at his home in Ongwediva after he had requested to be taken home to collect his medication.

Adamant that he was not aware that it was illegal to be in possession of cannabis, Sheepo informed the court that the state witness omitted information that was relevant. He claimed that although the state witness had warned him to stop selling cannabis as the witness alleged in court, the witness had also requested him to find out how cannabis comes into the country in order “to put an end to it”.

In January 2014 Sheepo was arrested by the same officer after having sold him the cannabis.

In mitigation of sentence Sheepo related that he has a live-in female partner and seven children. He also indicated that he is HIV positive and suffering from TB. On those grounds he pleaded with the court to reduce his N$1 000 fine which the magistrate objected to.

Before sentencing the magistrate Likando indicated that substance abuse is among the factors that heavily contribute to crimes in the area and country at large. Likando also stressed that substance abuse is harming the future of the younger generations, hence offenders should be punished to serve as an example.

The court took cognizance of his personal circumstances before handing him a lenient sentence.

Source : New Era