Sat. Jul 31st, 2021

Gateman Get 10 Years jail-Term For Terrorism

Gateman Get 10 Years jail-Term For Terrorism

A gateman, James Paul Tuska, who terrorised and threatened to kill his boss’s neighbour, was today sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without an option of fine, by a Federal High Court, Lagos.

The court presided over by Justice Ayokunle Faji, had on March 13, 2020, convicted the gateman after found him guilty of three counts charge of terrorism related offences, made against him by the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF), while deferred the sentence till today.

The convict, a gateman at 4a, Ibironke Crescent, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, was arrested on October 10, 2016, after putting several life-threatened calls his boss’ neighbour, one Victor Omotayo Awosika, of 2, Ibironke Crescent, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He was said to have threatened of killing him and his families, except he was paid N5 million as ransom.

He was first arraigned before the court on sometimes in April 25, 2017, on charges of terrorism and obtaining the sum of N5 million under false pretence and pleaded not guilty, in a charge marked FHC/L/17c/2017.

The offences which are contrary to 24 (2) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) An 2015 and punishable under Section 24 (2) (I) of the same Act. And section 390(9) of criminal Code Cap. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 

During his trial, the prosecutor, Mrs. O. C. Anigbogu called two witnesses and tendered four exhibits including statement of the defendant after Trial Within Trial (TWT).

 His extra-judicial statement and a CCTV footage were tendered by two prosecution’s witnesses respectively, and  were admitted by the court as exhibits.

However, it was only the convict that gave evidence in his defence.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, while delivering judgment on the charges on March 13, 2020, had upheld the prosecution’s case against the gateman and convict him of all the charges. While adjourned his sentence till today.

At the resumed sentence of the convict today, his lawyer, U. C. Ikegbule, who defended him ‘pro bono’, in his allocutus, pleaded with the court to tamper mercy with justice in sentencing him.

In his plea for mercy, Ikegbule urged the court to take into consideration, the punishment provided for the offence in Count one is life imprisonment, and for the offence in Count two, a term of 10 years imprisonment and or a minimum fine of N25 million; whilst the punishment for the offence of stealing is a term of seven years imprisonment. 

He also submitted that none of the offences in this case attracts a death sentence and apart from the conjunctive or alternative punishment of a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00 prescribed in Section 24(2) (i) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015 in respect of Count two of the Charge, the punishments prescribed for the offences in this case are the maximum limits the Court can sentence.

The convict’s lawyer also urged the court to consider his client’s age, who he said ‘is a young man, in his mid-twenties and as at the time he was arrested in respect of this case, he was only 22 years. 

He further urged the Court, to take into account, the fact that the Convict has since he was arrested on the 10, October, 2016, with respect to this case, remained in custody and the law in Section 416(2) (e) of ACJA mandates the Court to take such period spent in Prison custody awaiting trial or undergoing trial into account in sentencing a convict. 

In conclusion, he pleaded with the court that the terms of imprisonment be made to run concurrently rather than consecutively, pursuant to Section 416 (2) (l) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. 2015.

When asked from the prosecutor, Mrs. Anigbogu, if the convict has any previous criminal record, she responded and ‘said none to her best knowledge’.

Upon submission of the prosecutor, Justice Faji sentenced the convict to 10, five and five years in count one, two and three respectively

He however ordered that the jail terms be run concurrently and to starting reading since  October 10, 2016.