A man who chose crime as his career was jailed for four years on Tuesday, for possession of a stolen vehicle, and possession of live ammunition hidden in the magazine of a toy gun.
Mogamat Daniels, 39, a father of three, appeared in the Parow Regional Court, before magistrate Constance Nziweni, who said his list of previous convictions showed that he did not learn from his mistakes.
He was jailed for four years for possession of a stolen vehicle, and three years for the illegal possession of ammunition.
The court ordered that the two sentences run concurrently, which means he only serves the four year sentence.
It seems that his good fortune – the purchase of the vehicle for only R13 000, and then picking up a toy gun with live ammunition in its magazine – turned into the misfortune of going to prison.
Had he behaved calmly when he noticed the police, as he drove around with friends, instead of speeding away, and causing suspicion, he might not have been stopped.
As it happened , the police caught up with him after a high-speed chase, to discover that the car was in fact stolen, and to find the toy pistol with live ammunition hidden under the front seat.
Prosecutor Barry van der Berg was unable to gainsay Daniels’ claim that he had picked up the gun in the street.
The magistrate said, unlike suspects who often maintained their innocence in court, despite overwhelming evidence against them, Daniels had pleaded guilty.
She agreed with defence advocate Arno Nel that the plea of guilty had saved the court from a protracted trial, which the court accepted as mitigation.
The court was in any event obliged to blend justice with a measure of mercy – hence, instead of going to prison for seven years, he only had to do four, she said.
She said it seemed that he had chosen crime as his career, and it was people like him who ensured a market for stolen property.
It was people like Daniels who caused innocent people high insurance premiums for the protection of their hard-earned property.
Daniels had no respect for other peoples’ belongings, she said.
As for his illegal possession of live ammunition, the fact that the ammunition was in a magazine fixed to a toy gun did not make the offence any less serious.
The court would be failing in its duty if it did not impose a sentence that would make would-be offenders think twice, she said.
-African News Agency