A MAN who burnt down the Mbabanakira police post in Weathercoast, Guadalcanal in 2013, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment on Friday at the Honiara Magistrate’s Court.
Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika also ordered 653 days, which is about two years that Misilisi Puahas spent in custody to be deducted from the three years imprisonment.
A starting point of four years imprisonment has been imposed but Mr Seuika deducted one year off to reflect the delay in the prosecution of this case.
In relation to the simple larceny charge against Pua, the court has imposed a 12 months imprisonment.
This is for stealing plates, spoons and a solar panel inside the police post before setting the police post on fire on the night of 5 January 2013.
Mr Seuika ordered sentences to run concurrently to each other which means only three years is to be served.
“The court has taken into consideration that burning of other people’s property without lawful excuse is a painful experience and deserves punishment,” Mr Seuika said.
Mr Seuika told Pua that he has involved in the plan to burn down the police post at Mbabanakira when he accompanied the master minder of this arson and he has executed well that plan.
On the issue of delay in this case, Mr Seuika said after considering comparative decision of the High Court on the issue of delay he has gone through the court’s file to see whether there were any explanations as to why the matter has been delayed but found no proper cause of explanation.
“Most of the adjournments were caused by the prosecution and the lawyers failing to make this matter move forward.”
Mr Seuika said the accused has been held in custody awaiting trial and there were some events the accused sought bail but were refused by the prosecution.
“I am satisfied that this case has been unreasonable delayed.”
After considering the mitigating and aggravating features of this case, he imposed a starting point of four years imprisonment.
Lazarus Kwaiga of L & L Lawyers has asked the court for a concurrent sentence, submitting that the two offences arose out of the same incident with the same victim.
Public Prosecutor Bradley Dalipanda has asked for a deterrence sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offence and the aggravating features of this case.
Mr Seuika said that the accused’s right to appeal this sentence is extended with 30 days from Friday’s date.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN