The High Court sentences a man to six years imprisonment for 2016 White River playing field stabbing incident which left another man dead
THE man who caused the death of another man at the White River playing field, West Honiara, in 2016 by stabbing him with a knife has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Joel Abia was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter.
Justice John Keniapisia, when sentencing Abia recently, said this is a good deterrence for Abia and others.
“Anymore pre-trial custody entitlement not accounted for herein to be accounted for by the Correctional authority,” Justice Keniapisia said.
Abia was initially charged with murder but after negotiations between his lawyer and the prosecution, the charge was reduced to manslaughter.
He was already sentenced in 2017 to life imprisonment for the murder charge after he was found guilty after a trial.
His lawyer then filed an appeal against his conviction before the Court of Appeal in 2017.
In 2019, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a re-trial before another Judge.
Mr Keniapisia said since 12 April 2019, the re-trial in the High Court dragged due to normal court delays for which no particular person should be blamed.
“However, things have drastically changed.
“On 3 March 2023, a nolle prosequi notice was filed to discontinue the initial murder charge.
“Simultaneously an amended information was filed reducing the initial murder charge to manslaughter,” he said.
The 50-year-old deceased and a relative met up with the deceased’s sister in-law on the night of 30 April 2016 at the White River playing field near the White River Police Station.
Whilst they were sitting, beers were shared amongst them but the deceased’s sister in-law, however, refused to drink at that time, causing the deceased to be angry.
The deceased was angry and expressed his anger by shouting and this attracted the attention of a group of boys who were also drinking at another spot in the field.
The defendant was with the group of boys.
Whilst the deceased was shouting, the defendant approached them and an argument broke out between them.
The deceased’s companions were afraid and escaped, leaving the deceased alone with the defendant.
It was during their argument that the deceased swore at the defendant, causing the defendant to become aggressive.
This resulted in the defendant punching the deceased in the face and stabbing him in his left ribs with a small knife before escaping.
The deceased was later transported to the National Referral Hospital but unfortunately died.
According to a doctor, the deceased died due to blood loss as a result of the stab wound.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
Solomon Star, Honiara