AIDS patient gets 25 years


A former public servant was yesterday sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of his colleague in the National Capital District three years ago.
The Waigani National Court, presided by Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, ordered that Billy Sapsi Pokea, from Sumea village in Mendi District, Southern Highlands, serve 22 years at the Buiebi prison in Mendi.  The two years and 11 months he spent in custody at Bomana prison in Port Moresby were deducted from the sentence.
The court noted that Pokea was an AIDS patient and ordered that the Buiebi prison management allow him to visit the Mendi hospital regularly to get medical treatment.
The court found Pokea guilty of the murder of Dennis Taylor Bebego at the Foreign Affairs Department office in Waigani on July 5, 2014.
The court also considered the HIV/AIDS Management and Prevention Act 2003 when sentencing Pokea.
The prosecution submitted that Pokea should be given the maximum penalty for murder which is death penalty.
Pokea’s lawyer, from the Office of the Public Solicitor, asked the court to consider Pokea’s medical condition and impose a jail sentence of between 20 and 30 years.
Justice Kirriwom, after considering submissions from lawyers, ruled that the circumstances in the case against Pokea were dissimilar to other cases of wilful murder that the prosecution relied on where prisoners were sentenced to death.
The court heard that Pokea and Bebego were employed by the department during the time of the incident.
They were at work on July 5, 2014 when Bebego walked past Pokea’s work station and saw Pokea allegedly watching a pornographic video on his computer. The court heard that Bebego approached Pokea and told him that he would report him to the management and he would be terminated. The court heard that Pokea was upset about the comments from Bebego and went to the nearest hardware store and bought a knife and returned to the office. He went into Bebego’s office, locked the door, and cut him several times on his body.
The autopsy report indicated 13 deep wounds on various parts of Bebego’s body, including three on his head.

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