Brother-in-law to serve 22 years in jail

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A MAN who hacked his brother-in-law to death in front of the victim’s two children near Madang last year was sentenced to 22 years in jail last Thursday.
Jacob Aku Matai, 30, committed the offence in the village of Siar, 10km outside Madang town on May 23.
He had pleaded guilty to the murder of Manuel Rebis, 28.
Rebis and his two children were in Matai’s coconut plantation collecting coconuts on a Sunday afternoon last May when Matai approached the deceased and hacked him to death with a bush knife.
Last Thursday, National Court judge Justice David Cannings ruled in Madang: “I do not accept the counsel’s submission that this is a category two case.
“The post-mortem examination report and the photos taken by the police photographer at the crime scene show there was a strong desire to do grievous bodily harm with an offensive weapon,” Cannings said.
“I do not uphold the public prosecutor’s submission that it was a premeditated attack or a cold-blooded killing.
“I conclude that this is a category three case. Therefore, the starting point range is 20 to 30 years”.
The court heard that the offender approached the deceased and attacked him with a bush-knife on the right side of the neck and face.
The wounds inflicted on the deceased were serious and he died from loss of blood from the wound.
Cannings said the mitigating factors were that Matai acted alone and that there had been long running tension between him and Rebis.
“There was some element of de facto provocation at the time of the incident due to the deceased reaching for his bush-knife and the offender’s belief that he was about to  be attacked by the deceased.”
Cannings said he took into account Matai’s early guilty pleas and that was a first time offender who had expressed remorse for his actions.
Matai was sentenced to 22 years in prison at Madang’s Beon Correctional Services Institution.