In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan
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04 October 2018
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* Owen jailed for pushing man downhill
* ‘Stop resorting to crime to solve disputes’
* Man denies attempting rape on school girl


Owen jailed for pushing man downhill



A man who pushed another man down a sloppy hill which resulted in a broken leg at Skyline, Honiara last year has been sentenced to three and a half years on Tuesday at the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.

Allen Owen was convicted and sentenced after a trial for one count of grievous harm before Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga.

Mr Aulanga is currently at Auki.

He therefore had requested Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea to deliver the sentence which he prepared on his behalf, Tuesday.

In his sentencing remarks, Mr Aulanga stated that this sentence must send a message to the accused and the general public that causing injury to another person will not be easily tolerated by the court.

“The victim in this case expects justice from the court and must have a voice when it comes to sentencing,” Mr Aulanga stated.

Mr Aulanga said it is important to learn to take responsibility for one’s actions and undo the usual male perception that violence comes first before dispute settlement comes later.

Mr Aulanga said that is the mistake done by the accused therein and he understands the reason why he pushed the victim down the sloppy hill was due to disagreement over the rumour that the victim had asked his niece for sex.

“But the nature of that disagreement does not warrant or entitle him to take the law into his own hands.

“Church workers, police authority and perhaps chiefs or elders within the respective families of both parties should be utilised but he chose to ignore them and decided to take the law into his own hands.”

Owen had admitted in court that he treated the victim as his own family since they lived in one area.

Mr Aulanga said having that close relationship as asserted by the accused, he did not see any reason why he decided to resort to assaulting the victim in this way.

The court had heard Owen pushed the victim down a sloppy hill at a location beside the main road at Skyline in Honiara.

The victim fell backwards and fractured his right leg.

It was heard Owen did that out of anger he had for the victim over a rumour that the victim asked his niece for sex.

The victim was hospitalised at the National Referral Hospital for about three months and underwent two surgical operations for insertions of internal fixtures to aid his walking.

“This arrogant behaviour of taking the laws into their own hands as a means of resolving disputes must be stopped if not, the consequences that will follow suit will be severe or regrettable,” Mr Aulanga said.

Owen has been working as a carpenter before the incident, now, he no  longer performs his carpentry work as he used to as to his normal walking condition is now significantly impaired.

The maximum penalty for grievous harm is 14 years.

Prosecution has asked the court to impose a custodial sentence of a minimum term of five years while the defence asked for a 12 months fully suspended sentence.

Mr Aulanga had imposed a starting point of three and a half years imprisonment and then increased it to four years.

He later reduced it by six months to reflect the delay in this case which has taken this far and also some of the mitigating and personal factors, which resulted in a final sentence of three a half years in prison.

The time Owen spent in custody has been taken into account.

Ronald Dive of Ron Law is representing the accused while Police Prosecutor Elson Konle appeared for the Crown.




‘Stop resorting to crime to solve disputes’


Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga says we need to reform our ways or perception of resorting to crime as a means of resolving disputes.

Mr Aulanga made this call when he sentencing Allen Owen for pushing another man down a sloppy hill in Honiara which resulted in the man receiving a fractured leg.

Owen was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment after he was found guilty after a trial for one count of grievous harm.

“The use of violence against another person is a crime,” Mr Aulanga said.

He said the law demands that every person shall not be subjected to any ill treatment or harm by another person,” Mr Aulanga stated.

“Any breach of this principle normally attracts consequences.

“This principle imbues the need not to use violence against another person since it is an unlawful act that always accompanies punitive consequences,” he said.

Mr Aulanga added that there is no issue that violent offending resulted in harm is prevalent in Solomon Islands.

He said men in particular tend to resort to fighting or use of force when disputes arise.

“Often times, they were too quick to take the laws into their own hands but easily ignore the lawful or proper ways to resolve those disputes.

“But when they end up in court, they tend to ask for leniency which sometimes can be too late or a late call.

“Nowadays, we need to grow up in terms of thinking and behaviour.

“We need to reform our ways or perception of resorting to crime as a means of resolving disputes.

“We must learn to take responsibility for our actions and undo the usual male perception that violence comes first before dispute settlement comes later,” Mr Aulanga further added.


 


Man denies attempting rape on school girl


A man who allegedly attacked and tried to rape a girl on her way back home from school at Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil (GPPOL) in northeast Guadalcanal in July this year has denied the allegation on Tuesday.

Andrew Letade, 27, is facing one count of attempted rape.

After entering his not guilty plea, Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea adjourned the matter to October 9.

This is for the possible election of a (committal hearing) preliminary inquiry to be conducted on this matter as to whether it will be a short form or a long form.

It would be after the committal hearing that the court will decide upon evidences produced during that hearing, if the matter will be committed to the high court for trial or not.

Letade was charged in relation to an alleged incident on 30 July 2018 at the GPPOL area.

About 2pm on that day the alleged victim was on her way home from school.

She was allegedly attacked while trying to take off her slippers since the path way through the plantation was muddy and slippery.

Prosecution alleged the accused hit her back and then slapped her face using his both hands.

It was alleged that the accused then held on tightly to the alleged victim’s eyes which made her dizzy.

He then allegedly committed an indecent act towards the victim and then allegedly tried to take off her clothes.

He however did not succeed as the alleged victim took out a pen and poked one of his eyes.

As a result, the accused let go of the alleged victim who then went on her way back home.

While walking, she met up some GPPOL workers and told them of what had happened.

The GPPOL workers went after the accused and took him to Ngalibiu station and then contacted the Tetere Police.

Police at Tetere came and arrested Letade and later charged him for the alleged offences.

 Public Solicitor’s lawyer Allan Tinoni is representing the accused while Public Prosecutor Patricia Tabepuda appeared for the Crown, Tuesday.





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