New Delhi: A Nigerian national, convicted for possessing 60 gram heroin, has been sentenced to three years in jail, a period he has already spent behind bars, by a Delhi court which took a lenient view towards him.
Special NDPS judge Anu Grover Baliga also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on Richard, living in India without permit.
The court took a lenient view towards him, saying he does not have any previous criminal record and has spent more than three years behind bars in this case.
"Taking into consideration the quantity of heroin for which he has been found guilty i.E. 60 gm and the fact that he has no previous criminal antecedents, I sentence him to undergo simple imprisonment for the period already undergone by him," the judge said.
The court had convicted Richard under the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and the Foreigners' Act while rejecting his contention that there was no public witness to support the case.
"Non-joining of public witnesses in the present case is not fatal to the case of the prosecution and thus the argument of the defence counsel that since no independent witness was associated, Richard is liable to be acquitted is totally devoid of any merit," the judge had said.
Another accused Chris, who was arrested with Richard, was declared an absconder as he failed to appear in the court after being granted bail.
According to the prosecution, Richard and Chris were apprehended by the Narcotics Cell's raiding team with 1.2 kg heroin hidden in 20 bicycle seats. They were caught by on September 24, 2011 near Gole Dak Khana here on a tip-off.
The court, however, noted that the police did not produce the samples of seized contraband properly, hence it could not be conferred that they possessed 1.2 kg heroin.
"From the facts that have been proved before this court it can be safely inferred that the accused can be held guilty for having been found in possession of 60 gms of contraband," it had said, while adding that each packet was not weighed and sample was taken out after mixing the contents of all the packets together.
Prosecution said during investigation Chris and Richard could not produce any document for their stay in India.
During the trial, Richard had denied the allegations and claimed that he was going to India Gate for sightseeing when the auto rickshaw he was travelling in broke down and he was suddenly caught by the police.