Presiding Judge at the Freetown High Court, Justice Alusine Sesay, yesterday sentenced Fatmata Moijueh Tucker to thirty years imprisonment.
Ms. Tucker had changed her ‘not guilty’ plea of murder to manslaughter few weeks ago, after the prosecutor amended the charge of murder and replaced it with unlawful killing, using section 148(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act No.32 of 1965.
The prosecution had alleged that the accused on Sunday, 6 April, 2014 at the Suffian Guest House, Lungi, in Port Loko district, northern Sierra Leone, unlawfully killed his boyfriend, Saidu Bangura.
Prior to sentencing, defence lawyer Ishmael Philip Mammie apologised to the court and members of the deceased family on behalf of client, and pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy.
He acknowledged the fact that the accused had done something grievous against the deceased, his family and the people of Sierra Leone.
He said the accused told the police in her confessional statement that the deceased was very kind and caring, and beseeched the judge to look at her like any other human being that is susceptible to making mistakes.
He called on the judge to consider a lighter punishment for the accused in order that she would re-unite with society and be an agent of change. Also, Ms. Tucker asked the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that her action was not intentional.
“I know it has not been easy with the family members of the deceased, but I am begging for their forgiveness. I don’t really know what came over me to do what I did during the night of the incident,” she said.
She added that her family had disowned her after the incident and pledged that she would never commit such an offence.
In his response, State Prosecutor Ahmed J.M. Bokarrie urged the court impose the maximum sentence of life imprisonment or for the accused to serve 95 years in jail.
In his sentencing statement, Justice Sesay noted that the manner in which the accused killed the deceased was too brutal and that justice was not only meant for her but the deceased.
He thus ordered that the accused be imprisoned for 30 years, inclusive of the time she has already spent in jail. She is to serve the remainder years of her sentence at the female correctional centre in Freetown.