A MAN who claimed he used a spear to kill the deceased and then later cut off his head because he was provoked has been acquitted at the High Court, Tuesday.
Bruno Sapa had gone through a trial last year for one count of murder.
Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer in his judgment yesterday said he is satisfied there is evidence of provocation, especially in the light of the swearing words used by the deceased, not once but on several occasions.
“There is evidence that such swearing words were grievous and offensive in the custom of the defendant,” Sir Albert said.
He added that there is also undisputed evidence of provocative behaviour and the conduct of the Deceased under his house throughout, which also involved attacks on Prosecution Witness1 (PW1) and PW4 with his knife, that he was drunk and aggressive, violent, including cutting at the chair and shirt of the Defendant.
“All these when considered together would have provoked the person in the shoes of the Defendant to lose his self-control and behave in the way he did towards the Deceased.
Sir Albert said he was not satisfied the Crown has established to the requisite standard that the killing was done with malice aforethought that the defendant intended to cause the death or grievous bodily harm to the deceased and disproved the defence of self-defence raised by the Defence.
“He is entitled to be released at the rising of the court herewith.”
In his judgement he said, “I am not satisfied there is more than sufficient evidence to support the version of the defence in this case, that is pre-emptive strike, the act of throwing the spear and killing of the deceased was justified and excusable in the extreme circumstances of the case.
“I am satisfied on evidence that there exist reasonable grounds on which his belief is founded,” he said.
Sir Albert said it is fairly obvious that the deceased was the aggressor.
“He was behaving violently prior to and leading up to the events of the attack.
“He was loud, aggressive, drunk and abusive at that time,” Sir Albert added.
Sir Albert said the deceased was also armed with a dangerous weapon, a bush knife and earlier on had injured a young woman (Prosecution witness 1)sitting beside the ladder of the defendant’s house.
The court also heard the deceased also had an argument with another man Prosecution witness 4) and had chased and attacked him and injured both his hand and fingers.
It is at this point that the defendant in his statement said he sought to intervene and told the deceased to leave.
Sir Albert said that would be reasonable call to make in the circumstances as the deceased was trespassing, causing a lot of disturbances and acting disorderly in his premise.
“He says the deceased however instead moved towards him and cut a chair which had his shirt placed over it and then sought to cut him with his knife.
Sir Albert said the defendant’s description of events is consistent with that of Crown witnesses and that is it was the deceased who sought to attack him first with his knife.
He said all crown witnesses agreed that it was at this point that the defendant threw the spear at the deceased before moving in and cut off the deceased’s head from his body.
According to the doctor’s opinion the deceased would have died from the injuries from the spears to his hear before the head was decapitated.
The doctor further added that the heart would still be “pumping” (beating) from such an injury and may take a couple of minutes (3-5 minutes) before death takes place as a result of excessive blood loss.
Sir Albert said the defendant in his statement explained he lost control of his mind at that time when he cut the deceased with the knife and decapitated his head.
The incident happened on the morning of 2 April 2019 at Pauta Village, Bellona.
The deceased was having drinks with the other boys until mid-morning that day when an heated argument broke out about the national elections.
At that time the deceased were exchanging words and swearing with Prosecution witness 4 (PW4 which later led to the confrontation between the defendant and the deceased.
Stanley Aupai of Public Solicitor’s Office represented the defendant while Public Prosecutor Margaret Suifa’asia appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN