A man who pleaded guilty to stabbing his younger brother with a knife at a village in Malaita in 2012 has been sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Charles Tedi Talakemu in his 40’s, was initially on trial for one count of murder but later entered a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge.
The trial was conducted in Auki, Malaita during a High Court circuit last week.
After evidences from two witnesses were presented, the case became obvious that a lesser charge of manslaughter would seem to be the more appropriate charge.
The prosecution then entered a nolle prosequi (to no longer prosecute) on the murder charge and the accused entered a guilty plea to the amended charge of manslaughter.
Talakemu stabbed his younger brother with a kitchen knife on his back on the early hours of 6am on November 9, 2012 at Ogou village in East Kwaio.
This was after they had an argument over an axe that the deceased borrowed from the accused.
The accused went to get his axe from the deceased but he could not find it.
This had led to an argument and stabbing incident.
The deceased died on the way to Atoifi Hospital.
Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer in his sentencing remarks said this is another of those tragic cases, where a life has been cut short because of failure of the parties in the dispute to resolve their differences in love, patient and understanding, a fortiori where the victim and the defendant are blood brothers.
He said a life has been cut short, a future and destiny of a young married man, his wife and four young children, deprived forever by a simple failure to be patient, kind and tender hearted, by a failure to be willing to sacrifice an axe, in favour of maintaining peace and harmony in the home and family.
“Sometimes selfishness, greed and pride distort the true value of things in life and now and then you need to take stock of your existence, reason and purpose for living, so that you can keep and put things in perspective, the permanent and temporary, and the eternal and temporal.
“For instance, the value of an axe cannot be compared to the value of peace and harmony in a family or community, or the value of human being.”
The chief justice said while an axe can be easily replaced either by its equivalent value in dollars and cents, or a replacement axe, a human life is irreplaceable.
He told Talakemu that he should learn to value life and choose to value the things that pertain to life.
“When you become angry and upset about something, the risk of it escalating becomes a possibility to the point where emotions and passions reach boiling point and cannot be controlled, whereas if you choose to remain calm and patient and understanding, which might seem to be weakness in our society, but be prepared to sacrifice your search for the axe, even if lost, for the sake of maintaining peace and harmony in your family, nothing would have happened that day.
“Had you been more understanding and patient when you brother reacted the way he did, the search for the axe would not have escalated into a fight and shedding of innocent blood of one of your own,” He told the accused.
The imposed a deterrence sentence to send a message out clear to that any killing even in the context of a family setting is unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs and that those responsible must expect a custodial sentence, the length of sentence depending on the merits and circumstances of each case.
The time the accused spent in custody was taken into account.
Allen Tinoni of Public Solicitor’s Office represents the accused while Crown Prosecutors Natalie Kesaka and Andie Driu appeared for the State.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN