Killed over a six-pack

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A MAN was yesterday jailed 13 years with hard labour for killing his wife over six bottles of beer.
Justice Panuel Mogish told the man, John Mawe, 40, from Sinasina-Yongomugl, Chimbu, during sentencing: “You killed your wife of 13 years over a six pack of beer. What is the price for life? A six pack of beer?”
The judge said this was a result of domestic violence and violence against women which must be stopped. He said domestic violence was seen as normal and most people thought that it was normal for men to abuse their wives, but it’s not.
“So many women have died as a cause of domestic abuse at home. Wife-bashing must stop.
“Men must learn to talk and solve problems in a reasonable manner and not to resort to violence.
“This is not a case of death by accident. Death was caused by intentional acts of violence by you against your wife whom you were supposed to love, nurture and protect. What you did exhibits a shocking betrayal of trust and love.”
Mogish said the domestic violence syndrome was slowly choking the society and claiming lives of women and girls and the onus was on individuals to make a choice whether to fall victim to the syndrome or make a difference.
He said the maximum penalty for manslaughter was life imprisonment, however, each case was determined by its merits, depending on mitigating and aggravating factors.
“In this case, Mawe has no criminal history, pleaded guilty at an early stage, admitted the offence and also showed that there was no intention but rather a spontaneous act of drunken rage, which were taken as mitigating factors.”
Aggravating factors involve seriousness of the offence and prevalence of the offence.
Mawe deliberately committed the offence with relentless beating, the nature of the injuries was serious and he used a weapon, Mogish said.
The offence took place on July 30, last year at Mawe’s residence at Sinasina Block, 5-Mile, Port Moresby.
On July 29, Mawe took his family to shop at Erima.
Among other things, he also bought a six-pack of beer for his wife and six for himself along with a 375ml bottle of whisky. The family returned home at around 5pm. Mawe felt tired and slept.
At around 10pm, his wife woke him and told him that she had finished her beer and all that remained was the whisky so they began sharing the whisky.
They finished it at around 2am and Mawe went searching for his six-pack and asked his wife.
He then began assaulting her and the fighting went on for some time.
At about 5am, the couple’s 11-year-old son woke up and saw his father beating his mother with something that looked like a metal rod or timber.
He saw his mother’s face was swollen and she was lying on a bed.
At around 6am, Mawe got a taxi and took his wife to the Port Moresby General Hospital where she died at about 10am.
According to an autopsy report, head injuries caused the death.
There was blood between the skull and the brain, and a fractured forehead caused by a blow with a blunt object.
Medical reports showed that the victim sustained several cuts and bruises to her face with a deformed nose and her nasal bridge had collapsed.
Mawe was sentenced to 13 years in prison with hard labour, with a year and two month deducted for the time he spent in custody.
He is serving at Bomana Prison.



  • Notwithstanding the mitigating factors 13 years sentence is considered very light in my opinion.
    He should have been given a minimum of 20 years; domestic violence by a man resulting in los of life of a woman must be addressed head on and as such much more hasher penalties should be imposed as a deterrent for such barbaric crime.

  • Why 13 years, he killed a human being who does not deserve it. He should get life in prison and this is not fair one the deceased.

  • Only 13 years? Where is the justice in 13 years? And to read that her son witnessed the beating, helpless and undoubtedly terrified. Appalled.

    • This is a learning point for others who are treating their wives in this manner. If you are in this situation, please better say sorry to your wife and begin to love and nature her with your whole heart so your children will grow in a loving family environment. If you abuse this, your children will be victimised of your selfish mistake.

  • 13 years of hard labor is punishment enough with counseling however a guy with a short temper and also an alcoholic by nature could not be considered a first time offender, weren’t there medical reports or police statement made by the wife for previous abuse committed. it does not seems like an habitual thing especially the consumption of alcohol. shouldn’t the husband be asked about his and the wife’s drinking habits and rage episodes. because a person who drinks and gets mad over alcohol is not a first time offender, since it is a norm in our society. the child has lost a mother and a father.

  • I rephrase the question;

    what is the price of life? Six pack of beer the reason for her death. She is gone for good so should he be locked away for good?

  • I was thinking since he killed or murdered his wife, time in prison should be like 20+, why cant Judge Mogis increase the sentence???
    No wonder PNG is full of Crime..

    Every criminals after their term in prison should be departed to their home provinces.
    Please bring back Vagrancy Act!!

  • I think the ruling was not enough, he unintentionally cased the death but to put the stop to this kind of actions, its best a life imprisonment supposed to be the ruling.

  • This was an unfortunate situation here where the wife deliberately took what doesn’t belong to her, even he is her husband . She does not have respect for her husband however the husband must have some level of control over his anger towards his wife considering the value of the six pack. The level of damage done was beyond , causing damage and even death.
    Beer is the root cause of many problems in life and people should understand that better and stay out of beer. There is nothing good about beer so why waste money on items that is not worthy to our health . God created human in his likeness and impart brain capacity which is above all creatures and gave dominion to rule every beast on this earth . Therefore human being should understand better and do away with beer to avoid such issues.

  • So sad…no alcohol is not the root cause. It is us the human beings. We are too weak to say no to drugs and too weak to say no to violence. Yumi ol wara wara man meri pulap long PNG. Strong people do not do that.

  • I think the penalty for killing was quite reasonable, however, it would have been 20+ years. Why I said the judgement was reasonable because, the man was under liquor, the killing was unintentional, he was woke up from the bed to have his beer and, they both agreed to have beer and if you agree to have beer you must accept its consequences too. Judge Mogis may have considered some of the above reasons in laying down his decision.
    However, the family of the deceased may not be happy with the decision.

  • 13 Years is NOT enough. He should be given 25yrs to Life Sentence. He committed wilful murder and worst of all, the victim happened to be his wife, mother of his kids.
    He should be punished with a harsher penalty as a deterrent. Precedence must be set fortright for such barbaric acts on women and children

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