By ZEDAIAH KANAU
A JUDGE yesterday sentenced four men convicted of aggravated armed robbery to 11 years each in jail, saying the crime was being committed almost on a daily basis.
Justice Panuel Mogish told Petrus Haiveta, 28, of Malalaua village in Gulf, Charles Parua, 24, of Dei in Western Highlands, Louis Ingian, 25, from Helik village, Yangoru in East Sepik and Brian Kovea (who is still on the run but sentenced in absentia) that they had all colluded to commit the crime and must receive the same jail terms with hard labour.
“The offence of robbery is one of the most prevalent offences committed almost on a daily basis and incidences are reported in the media so much that it has now become a norm,” Justice Mogish said.
They robbed the Titan Supermarket in Kwikila, Central, on Aug 6, 2018.
Justice Mogish said robbers were now selecting areas were police resources were limited.
“What makes this robbery serious is that it was committed in the sleepy town of Kwikila where such offences are unheard of,” he said.
“Maybe the town was chosen because of the people’s sense of complacency, I don’t know.
“What is clear to me is that robbers are now selecting their targets on small towns knowing full well that police resources are limited (there).”
The court was told that on Aug 26, 2018, two of the four were dressed as police officers and the other two were in civilian clothes.
They entered the supermarket between 4pm and 5pm armed with guns and a pocket knife and robbed the assistant manager of K300 and his mobile phone.
Haiveta took cash from one of the tills and another till with cash inside was also removed and carried out of the shop.
The four also took parcels of flex cards and packets of cigarette before driving off.
They had ordered shoppers to lie on the floor.
The total value of the items was K20,900.80.
Justice Mogish said the maximum penalty for the offence was death.
But this one did not warrant the penalty for the most serious armed robbery cases.
He ordered that one year, five months and three weeks be deducted for the time they had spent in remand awaiting trial.
Kovea had escaped with others during the Independence celebrations at the Bomana prison last year.
By ZEDAIAH KANAU