The Federal High Court sitting in Enugu on Monday sentenced a mother and her son to three months imprisonment for attempted child trafficking.
In her judgment, Justice Victoria Agishi, granted the accused persons an option to pay N20,000 fines each.
Agishi held that “in consideration and having been aware of the incidence of sickness, I have decided to tamper justice with mercy.
“The accused persons should pay a fine of N20,000 each but in case of default will go to jail for three months,” Agishi said.
The woman, Elizabeth Uzor, 45, and Ogochukwu Uzor, 29, were convicted following a failed attempt to traffic one Queen Okolo, 16, to Lagos for prostitution.
The accused persons pleaded guilty to an amended and substituted charge of conspiracy and child trafficking.
A prosecution witness and staff of the National Agency for the Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr John Uguaka, narrated to the court how the accused persons were arrested.
Uguaka said that NAPTIP had received a petition that the two accused persons attempted to indulge in the act.
“I was detailed to investigate the case. The two accused persons volunteered their statements under caution and admitted committing the offence,” Uguaka said.
The prosecution, Mr Aigbeze Uhimnen, urged the court to convict them based on their confessional statements.
The defence counsel, Mr Daniel Nwokolo, however, urged the court to tamper justice with mercy on the grounds of ill health of the first accused.
Nwokolo told the court that the accused persons were first offenders and had no antecedents of criminality.
“The first accused person on the day of first arraignment fell down here in the court and had a total paralyses in the full glare of litigants and others present.
“She has been on bed since then, she was even helped to the court today.
“If the second accused person who happens to be her son is sent to jail the mother will die.
“I am praying the court to caution and discharge them based on this grounds,” Nwokolo said.(NAN)