Jail terms shock taxi driv­ers

Lesotho Times - - News -

MASERU — Over 20 Maseru taxi driv­ers were slapped with ef­fec­tive jail sen­tences of be­tween 14 and 30 days this week for flout­ing traffic reg­u­la­tions — pun­ish­ment which left them in a state of shock as they were not given op­tions to pay fines to avoid in­car­cer­a­tion.

The driv­ers ap­peared be­fore the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Mon­day charged with con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of the Road Traffic Act of 1981.

All the ac­cused driv­ers pleaded guilty to their re­spec­tive charges and in mit­i­ga­tion, asked for le­nient sen­tences say­ing they were sole bread­win­ners in their fam­i­lies.

Some of the driv­ers blamed their pas­sen­gers for ask­ing to be dropped at un­des­ig­nated ar­eas thereby com­mit­ting the said crimes, while oth­ers said they were not aware that their ac­tions would lead to in­car­cer­a­tion.

When out­lin­ing rea­sons for the sen­tences, Magistrate Dlamini Matla said most of the driv­ers were repeat-of­fend­ers hence a cus­to­dial sen­tence would de­ter them from com­mit­ting sim­i­lar crimes in fu­ture.

“Most of you have ap­peared be­fore this court in the past on sim­i­lar charges and cau­tioned not to com­mit the same crime again,” said Mr Matla.

You were given sen­tences with op­tions to pay fines in the past but it is clear that this was not enough and did not mean any­thing to you hence you con­tin­ued to com­mit the same crimes.

“Hope­fully, a cus­to­dial sen­tence will send a strong mes­sage to you and even those who would want to com­mit sim­i­lar of­fences, that the courts are very se­ri­ous about curb­ing th­ese kinds of crimes as they put the lives of other driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans in dan­ger.”

— Lena/staff Re­porter

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