A week after the unanimous guilty verdict from the Criminal Court ‘C’ jury against defendant Suzette Blake, Regional Sales Supervisor of Lonestar MTN, Presiding Judge Emery Paye yesterday sentenced the defendant to a one year jail term.
As part of Blake’s sentence, she was ordered to also pay back the amount of US$66,000 and L$449,515 that went missing when she was in the employ of the company.
Judge Paye said his decision was due to defendant Blake’s legal team’s refusal to allow the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to conduct its pre-sentence investigation.
The pre-sentence investigation was intended for the bureau to establish whether or not defendant Blake had any prior criminal record and to ensure that she is in good standing, behavior-wise, in her community.
Based on these findings, the bureau would have recommended the next course of action, from which Judge Paye would have come down with his judgment.
“Her lawyers prevented the bureau from exercising its legal function as corrections officers. It is unfortunate that the lawyers would have exhibited such an attitude,” Judge Paye said regretting the action of the defendant’s lawyers.
Despite Judge Paye’s judgment yesterday, he, however, withheld the enforcement of his decision after it was resisted by the defendant’s legal team.
Withholding his decision, Judge Paye was heard saying, “I can’t enforce my judgment because the defense team had resisted it as provided under the law; therefore, I have to wait until the Supreme Court can review my judgment.”
Defendant Blake was charged in February this year with the crime of misapplication of entrusted property by her former employer, Lonestar Cell MTN.
The complainant claimed that while Blake was serving in the capacity of Regional Sales Supervisor, the entity entrusted her with its mobile account and goods valued at L$449,515 and US$66,000 to sell, supply and to report the proceeds in the company’s account at Ecobank and other commercial banking entities in the country.
The court document claimed Blake received the said properties, sold them through deception and converted the proceeds into her personal accounts, claims she denied when she testified on her own behalf.