The accused said she did not have prior knowledge of the contents of the bag which contained methamphetamine
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Wednesday, sentenced Duru Lindiwef, a South African, to 18 months imprisonment for drug trafficking.
Ms. Lindiwef, mother of one, was arrested in June, last year, after she was accused of attempting to export about 5.5 kilogrammes of methamphetamine narcotics to her native country.
The 37-year-old had pleaded guilty to the one count when she was arraigned last November.
“The convict is hereby sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, which shall run from the date of apprehension,” said Benedicta Molokwu, the trial judge.
“Moreso, the convict is ordered to be repatriated back to South Africa at the expiration of her jail terms,” Mrs. Molokwu added.
Eugene Okenyi, counsel to the convict, made a passionate appeal to the judge for leniency.
According to Mr. Okenyi, his client, who is married to a Nigerian, had been “a victim of circumstance” as she had no idea of the whereabouts of her husband and child.
Ms. Lindiwef’s kindness was her undoing as she merely wanted to help an acquaintance, who had paid her flight ticket, ferry a bag to South Africa, her lawyer said.
And she had no prior knowledge of the contents of the bag, the lawyer added.
While asking the judge to be liberal in her sentencing, Mr. Okenyi further pleaded that the HIV Positive status of his client be considered.
The judge, in her ruling, stated that she had been swayed by the defence’s pleas.
“Considering the passionate plea of learned counsel for the convict, and her health challenges, the court is swayed to tamper justice with mercy,” said Ms. Molokwu.
The convict was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, on June 27, 2012, during an outward clearance of South African Airline flight to Johannesburg.
The prosecutor, Femi Oloruntoba, said that the substance was concealed in a carton of sardine and was discovered by the female clearing officer at the South Africa departure table.