13.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Student admits stealing to pay fees

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Asamankese (E/R), May 13, GNA - Samuel Botwe, 21, who claimed to be a student and stole a sack full of avocados worth 100,000 cedis to sell to enable him pay his school fees was sentenced to a fine of 400,000 cedis by the Asamankese Circuit Court on Thursday. Botwe, who pleaded guilty would in default go to prison for three months.

The Judge, Mr Kofi Akrowiah, said he took into consideration his age and the circumstances that made him commit the offence and also the fact that he was a first offender to deal leniently with him. He further noted that people as young as the accused could become hardened criminals when sentenced to long prison terms. Earlier, Police Detective Chief Inspector Osei Owusu, told the court that on May 2, at Anum Apapam, near Suhum, the complainant, Madam Cynthia Otoo purchased a quantity of avocados in a sack, which were deposited by the roadside.

He said when she later went to the spot, where the load was deposited she could not find it and with the help of the seller nearby, they found the sack of the avocados abandoned in nearby bush. The prosecution said realizing it was a market day at Anum Apapam, they thought that the thief might possibly attempt to sell the avocados in the market, so they decided to go there.

At the market, he said, they saw Botwe offering some of the avocados for sale but on seeing them he abandoned the fruits and fled. He was, however, arrested later and handed over to the police. Botwe's father, who was in court was asked how many children he has, replied that he had eleven but denied his son's allegation that he was always drunk.

Mr Akrowiah, however, advised Botwe that instead of stealing to finance his education he could rather utilize his vacation periods to do farm work for pay to meet some of his needs. 13 May, 05

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