Central youths on trial for murder

National, Normal


FOUR youths from Lealea village, Central, are on trial at the Waigani National Court for wilful murder.
The charge stemmed from the stabbing death of a man, believed to be from the Highlands, in 2008.
Last Friday, when asked to enter their plea after the state had presented the indictment against the four on the wilful murder charge, two initially pleaded guilty while the other two said “not guilty”.
 Their lawyer, upon hearing this, told the court that the pleas entered were inconsistent with
the instructions he received,and, therefore, he asked the court to change the guilty plea to not guilty for the two youths.
The court was told that on the night of Aug 30, 2008, around 10pm, the victim, who is married to a Lealea woman, and the four youths crossed paths in the village during which time harsh words were exchanged.
The youths claimed the man had sworn at them first and they, being offended, replied.
The court heard that one of the youths exchanged punches with the victim who pulled out a knife and chased him.
The others followed and in the ensuing fight, they stabbed the man.
He died from wounds sustained.
Counsel for the four accused raised the defence of provocation and self defense in relation to the wilful murder charge against them.
On Monday, the trial started with the first witness telling the court he was in his house when he heard the deceased shouting the verbal abuse.
Asked whether the swear words were directed at the four accused, he replied, “No he swore at the Goaribari settlers.”
The defense attempted to show that the deceased in fact swore at the accused because they were the only people nearby at that time.
The trial continues.
All four suspects are attending the case while out on bail.