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Man, 75 jailed for cultivating bhang

07 January 2014, 20:24 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A Nyeri court Tuesday fined a 75-year-old man KES10,000 in default serve six months in jail for cultivating bhang in his farm.

Resident Magistrate John Aringo found Charles Maranga Mithamo guilty of having cultivated four plants of bhang at his farm in Kimahuri village, Kabaru location.

The bhang was estimated to be worth KES 400.

A witness, administration police officer attached at Kimahuri AP post, in his evidence told the court that it was members of the public who reported the matter to police.

The area chief and the police officers went to Mithamo’s home and interestingly, they were welcomed by Mithamo saying he was aware why they had went for him

He immediately directed the officers to the piece of land where the plants were.

When interrogated by police the convict said the drugs were for his own consumption and not meant for commercial, according to the witness.

“We uprooted the plants and he was assisting in the exercise. We took photos of the police officers and the accused uprooting the plants,” said the AP witness.

Mithamo had however claimed in court that the section with the plants was not his, but he had leased it to another person he named as Peter Nderitu who was also farming wheat.

In his unsworn defence, Mithamo confirmed that he was at home when the administration officers visited him.

In mitigation, he said he has several grand children who are orphans and he is the single breadwinner. He asked the court to consider his state of life while convicting him.

He continued that the owner of the land at that particular time was Peter Nderitu who is serving a prison sentence for cultivating bhang.

Nderitu was arrested and convicted in May 2013 for the offence.

However, while issuing the ruling, the magistrate said the prosecution’s case was straight forward and the evidence adduced in support of the charge was overwhelming.

He stated that Mithamo agreed in court that the land where the plants were found is his only that he had leased it out.

The court also observed that the prosecution witnesses were unanimous that it was the convict who guided police to where the bhang was planted.

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