By ZEDAIAH KANAU
AN ex-soldier was jailed 20 years for shooting dead a woman in Port Moresby’s Hohola on Nov 29, 2012.
In giving the heavy sentence on Friday, Justice Panuel Mogish said: “Rogue soldiers bring disrepute to what the army stands for when they use their knowledge and training to kill innocent civilians.”
Mogish handed down the sentence to former Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) warrant officer Kepas Hiviki in the Bomana National Court but suspended eight years, leaving Hiviki with 12 years to serve in hard labour in Bomana Prison.
He also ordered Hiviki to be placed on good behaviour bond after completing his jail sentence.
“This case involved a professional solider of the PNGDF who has committed 27 undivided loyalty to the State and the people of PNG.
“What Hiviki did on the date in question is out of character of a soldier who is spoken highly by fellow soldiers.
“Professional soldiers are not trained to kill the innocent, the vulnerable and the wounded.
“They are trained to exercise judgment even in extreme situations.
“Pulling the trigger of a firearm without caution and reasoning falls short of this standard.
“He (Hiviki) has deeply expressed remorse and sorrow for the loss of life and offered compensation,” he added.
Mogish said while there was no justification for the killing, Hiviki had demonstrated capabilities for rehabilitation over the past eight years.
“He has continued to perform his various duties as a soldier and as a father to his family.
“He accepts that his future in the PNGDF is gone, that he would be dishonourably discharged, his entitlements forfeited to the State and his family evicted from their house at Murray Barracks.
“All these are natural consequences from his conviction.
“While they do not amount to exceptional circumstances, these are considerations the court take into account in tailoring an appropriate sentence,” Mogish said.
On Nov 29, 2012, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, Hiviki drove up the PNG Power compound in Hohola in his vehicle because his brother was earlier assaulted by some boys at the flats.
He was holding what appeared to be a handgun outside the door of the vehicle as he was driving uphill to where a man and his mother and others were walking.
While the vehicle was in motion, he discharged several shots from the handgun.
The bullets from the sidearm hit the woman at the back of her head and exited through her mouth, killing her instantly.
By ZEDAIAH KANAU