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30.10.2007 Crime & Punishment

Phone Thief Jailed Five Years

A thief who complained about a four-year jail sentence handed him for stealing a cellular phone was greeted with a bigger shock when a circuit court judge added a year to the sentence.

The incident occurred after the trial judge had sentenced the convict, William Dapatum, on his own plea of guilt to the charges of impersonation and stealing.

After the passing of the judgement, the convict, who was visibly shocked, remarked, "Four years? It is too much."
The trial judge then called him back and said he had been too lenient with the convict and accordingly added a year to the sentence, making it five years.

Dapatum, who was whisked away by security men, did not utter a word after the additional one year had been handed him.

The facts of the case were that the convict, who posed as a doctor, picked a taxi cab, with registration number GT 6285 Y, at the Ridge Hospital in Accra some time in September 2007 and informed the driver that he had an emergency to attend to at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

On the way to the hospital, Dapatum pleaded with the driver to give his cellular phone to him (Dapatum) to make an urgent call because he had left his in his consulting room.
The driver obliged and gave him the phone.

On reaching Korle-Bu, the convict got down, entered one of the wards and later emerged, asking the driver to take him to the Kaneshie Polyclinic, the 37 Military Hospital and back to the Ridge Hospital to enable him (Dapatum) to pick his car.

On their way to the Kaneshie Polyclinic, the convict, who had still not returned the driver's cellular phone, asked the driver to lend him ¢190,000 to purchase some items for the hospital.

According to the prosecution, the convict alighted at the Kaneshie Market but failed to return the phone and the money.

Luck, however, ran out for the convict who was spotted by the driver at the Ridge Hospital on October 24, 2007, leading to his arrest.

Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh