East New Britain man avoids maximum sentence for theft

National, Normal

AN East New Britain man was lucky to not have been given the maximum sentenced of 14 years for receiving K20,000 that was stolen from a security firm in 2008.
Yesterday, Kokopo National Court judge Justice Salatiel Lenalia considered John Gabriel, from Raburua village, had pleaded guilty and that he was a first time offender, thereby sentencing him to six years in prison with hard labour.
Justice Lenalia said Gabriel had apologised to the company, his parents, the community, the Government and asked the court to be lenient on him as he had plead guilty to the charge.
Gabriel was a former radio operator for Protect Security Services Limited.
In the early hours of Nov 4, 2008, there was black-out at the security firm’s main office situated at Raburua village.
Between 2am and 3am, a gang of eight men, armed with shotguns and bush knives, stormed into the office and commanded all security guards to lie down on the ground with their hands up in the air.
They took Gabriel into the office and enquired where the safe was.
He showed them the location of the safe, they broke it open and stole K203,500.
Gabriel admitted to receiving an amount of K20,000 after the robbery.
 By the time he was apprehended, he had already spent K10,000.
Justice Lenalia said he handed down  the sentence of six years as it would serve the desired purpose of deterring others in the province, and country, from engaging in this kind of conduct.