The ever lingering question of the justification of a court sentence in proportion to the magnitude of the crime committed once again comes to play in this rather unconventional punishment given to a man for stealing a mobile phone.
A Chief Magistrate Court in Ebute Metta Chief Magistrate Court on Monday sentenced a 28-year-old man to “carry two buckets filled with water up and down a staircase 100 times” as punishment for stealing a phone worth N6,000.
Chief Magistrate B.O. Ope-Agbe sentenced the man, Chikwandu Alo pleaded guilty to the theft of the phone.
The presiding Magistrate judge said, “I order that the convict should fill up two buckets with water and carry them up and down a stair case a 100 times.”
The punishment meted out by the judge when perused appropriately might just be commensurate to the crime of petty thieving the accused was arraigned for.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Jimah Iseghede, had told the court that the accused stole the cell phone from a van.
“The complainant saw him and raised an alarm and the accused was apprehended,’’ he said
The offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The accused had reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges brought up against him thereby saving the prosecution from unwarranted stress and undue wastage of tax-payers money.
As unconventional as Ope-Agbe’s judgement might be, it certainly deserves a ton of applause as it is geared at actually punishing the accused for his misdeed to serve as a deterrent to him and others in the society instead of filling up the already crowded prison cells across the country.
The essence of a court judgement on criminal activities is to ensure retribution for the crime committed, deterrence for others, reformation and the rehabilitation of the perpetrator.
This judgement, it is hoped, would serve as a warning to other elements of the society as well as a wake up call to the accused to do better as an entity in the larger social space.
An effective judgement- if a conclusion is not to be overreached.