General News of Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Nayele Ametefe, the Ghanaian – Austrian woman in the centre of the cocaine saga before her sentence Tuesday morning pleaded with the court to repatriate her to Austria and not Ghana.
According to her, being repatriated to Austria after serving her sentence would ensure her security because of the high level of public interest in the case.
She was sentenced to 8 years and 8 months in prison by the Isleworth Crown Court in Middlesex, London in the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning.
Our correspondent at the court, Nana Sifa Twum reported that prior to pronouncing judgment, the presiding judge, Judge Edmonds, QC, observed that the crime warranted 13 years of sentence but he was considering all the mitigating factors the defense solicitor put in and that the 8years 8months was enough by way of leniency.
Both the judge and the defense lawyer acknowledged the high public interest in the case and even decided to change the hearing time from 14:00 hours to 11.30 UK time and also regulated entry to the courtroom by issuing tickets to a few people.
Nayele’s plea was not changed from guilty to not guilty, as was earlier speculated in the media, Nana Sifa Twum reported.
The judge added that upon the exhibition of “good behaviors” Nayele’s sentence could be slashed by half.
Days spent on remand will also be deducted from the entire sentence period.
It was also confirmed at the court that the actual weight of the substance was 12kilos and not 12.5 as was previously reported with the street value of £1.8 million.
Judge Edmonds also considered the fact that Nayele was not tracked, but rather caught red handed and has also exhibited remorse and admitted committing the crime.
He also considered the fact that Nayele has completely lost all that she was going to gain in the trip.
The court also set July 6, 2015 to decide on the US$23,000 and £6000 found on her at the time of her arrest at the Heathrow Airport.
Her defense lawyer James Scobine, who was brought in to replace Dexter Henry, put up strong mitigating points to influence the judgment.
He narrated to the court that Nayele was a victim of a broken home at the early ages of her life and therefore entered into an early marriage at the age of 16 for 10years with an Abossey Okai businessman.
He said Nayele has gone through extreme difficult times and currently has three children, of 16, 13 and 11 years respectively.
He said since the husband was rich she also lived a lavished life.
With this lifestyle, Mr. Scobine told the court, that Nayele was currently dating two highly profiled Ghanaians whose names he did not disclose to the court.
He said a 50-year-old woman hired his client for US$23,000 and a bonus of £6000 for the transaction of which she was arrested.
He therefore pleaded with the court to have mercy on her adding that her (Nayele) illiterate mother in whose care the three children will be when she was jailed in the UK would have difficulties taking care of them.
He, therefore, prayed the court to put the lives of the children into consideration.