A qualified technician has put his chances of getting employed in jeopardy after he was arrested and charged for heroin possession.

The state alleged that Thamsanqa Mgabhi was caught by members of the Phoenix SAPS, who were doing their stop-and-search duties, with two capsules of heroin in possession. The thirty-year-old was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty to the charge and told the court that he was not a drug addict but failed to explain what he was doing with the drugs. Magistrate Parshotam found him guilty as charged.

Pleading with the court to show mercy on sentencing his client, the defence attorney, Mr Sabela from Legal Aid South Africa submitted Mgabhi's personal circumstances and that he peaded guilty to the charge, which he explained as showing an element of remorse. Sabela explained that his client had learned his lesson during the time, three weeks, he spent in custody before being released on bail. The public defender asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence on Mgabhi as he was a qualified IT technician, who was still seeking employment. Sabela argued that if his clkient is sent to prison his chances af getting a job would be put in jeopardy.

The state prosecutor, Mrs Mohammed, did not object to Sabela's submissions but suggested that a wholly suspended sentence was suitable as Mgabhi was a first-time offender, who did not waste the court's time by admitting to his crime. In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Parshotam considered Mgabhi's personal circumstances and his plea of guilty.

The magistrate also considered that the accused had already spent three weeks in custody, which he described as punishment enough for his crime. Parshotam sentenced the accused to pay R2 000 as a fine or spend two months in jail. The sentence was suspended for five years on condition Mgabhi is not convicted of a similar offence during the period of the suspension.

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