- Woman jailed for concealing birth released
- Accused to get letter from Priest
Woman jailed for concealing birth released
A WOMAN who was sentenced to two months in prison for secretly giving birth and bury the stillborn baby at a beach in Northwest Guadalcanal has been released yesterday.
Rose Mae was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of concealing the birth of a child.
Justice Maelyn Bird had Mae released because she said her remand in custody for more than three years is more than enough punishment for her.
This was after she had expressed her disappointment in the prosecution of Mae’s case.
“I am very concerned about how your case had unfolded in the courts,” Bird told Mae yesterday.
Mae was remanded in custody from 8 May 2017 and released on bail on 23 September 2020.
Bird said Mae was committed to stand trial at the High Court on 18 August 2017 and the information against her was not filed until 23 September 2020, more than three years after her committal.
“This accused’s case had been unnecessarily delayed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for a long period of time.
“The delay caused is even to an extent that the time spent in pre-trial custody had exceeded the prescribed punishment for this offending.
“That is appalling and is just unacceptable in the circumstances,” Bird added.
Bird further added that section 10 of our Constitution embraces the rights of persons charged with criminal offences so that unless the charges are withdrawn, the accused person shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by our law.
“I cannot say that the filing of the information against this accused by ODPP after three years is a reasonable time within the meaning of section 10 of our national Constitution.”
She also endorsed the comments made by a judge in relation to a past matter, in which the judge stated, “It is a truism to say that justice delayed is justice denied.”
Bird said there is no justification why the information, in this case, was filed more than three years after the committal hearing.
She said it is her view that it would be good practice for the ODPP to file the required information in each case to this court between 7 to 14 days after committal hearings.
Mae who was 35 years old in 2017 gave birth to a still-born baby on an unknown date between 1 April 2017 and 3 May 2017.
She wrapped the baby in plastic and placed it inside a case so that nobody could see it.
At about 11 am the next day, she brought the dead baby to Koma Beach, in Guadalcanal and buried it.
Some members of the Koma Beach community saw Mae at the beach and discovered the baby straight after she buried it.
They pursued Mae and then transported her to White River Police Station where the matter was reported.
According to the facts of the case, Mae did not tell anyone about the birth and disposition of the baby except a woman named Jean because she was afraid her brothers would find out about her pregnancy.
Mae, a widow is a mother to two young children whom she supports by selling fish at the Honiara Central Market.
Accused to get letter from Priest
THE matter of the man accused of faking his own death and obtained $76,000 from a local pharmacist in Honiara will return to court again on November 30.
The adjournment was made to allow the accused, Peter Fakaia who faces three counts of false pretenses to obtain a formal letter from a priest confirming his father was sick.
Fakaia had failed to turn up at a previous court date and later told the court he did not turn up because his father was sick.
Principal Magistrate Felix Hollison then asked Fakaia to get a letter from the doctor or nurse who attended his father.
Fakaia, however, told the court his father had sought healing from a priest at Bishop Patteson Theological College at Kohimarama, Northwest Guadalcanal due to his ill-health.
Hollison then directed Fakaia to get a formal letter from the priest who conducted the healing on his father.
He said this is for the court’s record.
Trial dates on this matter will be also confirmed on the next date.
Fakaia was charged in relation to allegations between 21 and 26 September 2019 in Honiara.
The prosecution alleged Fakaia attended the People’s Pharmacy at Kwaimani building at Kukum High way seeking medication.
The next day, he went back to the pharmacy complaining of allergies and was therefore given another medication and advised to see a doctor.
Later that same day he called the pharmacy seeking allergies medication and went to collect them.
On 23 September at about 8 am, the complainant received a call through his office phone by a person who allegedly purported himself as the accused’s brother-in-law.
The complainant was informed by the accused’s brother-law that the accused he diagnosed died at the National Referral Hospital and was at the morgue.
The accused’s brother-in-law then allegedly demanded a compensation of $10, 000 for the cause of the death.
The complainant in total allegedly gave $76,000 to the so-called relatives of the accused of the accused’s death.
It was on 26 September that the accused contacted the police after finally realising that he might have been set up by the accused.
The next day, police arrested a person who came to collect the last portion of the money requested for the accused’s death.
Using the accused’s alleged associates; police finally arrested the accused after halting him in his vehicle at the Ranadi Roundabout.
Private lawyer Ben Etomea represents Fakaia while Public Prosecutor Jonathan Auga is prosecuting