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Judge Reduces Inmate’s Jail Term

Judge Reduces Inmate’s Jail Term
Court
April 13
11:39 2018

A serving prisoner had his 15-month jail term slashed to five months yesterday in the High Court.

The accused, Yavala Baravilala, was charged on April 4, 2016, with one count of unlawful possession of illicit drugs.

He waived his right to counsel, pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted on November 20, 2017.

The court heard that he was found with four grams of cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana.

On November 24, 2017, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Baravilala appealed against his sentence on the ground that it was excessive and was outside the tariff set by the Court of Appeal in the Sulua versus State case.

The magistrate in his sentencing remarks said that Baravilala’s case was within the category one tariff.

When Baravilala committed the offence he was in custody for another case.

On April 4, 2016, when he returned to the remand centre after attending court he was found in possession of marijuana wrapped in foil and concealed in his rectum.

The drugs were found when he went through the cell sensor metal detector.The magistrate had taken into account the fact that the accused tried to smuggle illicit drugs into a Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) facility as an aggravating factor. He said during sentencing that a custodial sentence was warranted to deter others.

Justice Goundar said Baravilala’s sentence was manifestly excessive and disproportionate.

He set aside the Magistrate’s Court sentence and substituted it with a five-month jail term, effective from November 24, 2017.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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