ANYONE who helps prison escapees will be dealt with severely.
And members of the community are expected to assist law enforcers not criminal elements in the community.
Suva Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman made the remarks while handing Ritesh Barma a suspended sentence after he was found guilty of a count of aiding a prisoner to escape.
On December 2 last year, Barma helped prisoner Deshwar Dutt to escape from Suva Corrections Centre.
Mr Lakshman said Barma's action indicated his desire to mislead the law enforcement agencies.
The 29-year-old unemployed man was remorseful and sought the court's forgiveness, saying his actions were totally out of character.
In sentencing Barma, Mr Lakshman said the court noted the seriousness of the offence.
He said the message was clear — anyone who helped prisoners escape would get immediate custodial sentence.
However, he said as a first offender, Barma must learn a lesson after spending close to two months in custody.
Mr Lakshman sentenced Barma to seven months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.