Killer gets 30-year term

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 22nd April 2013

A MAN has been jailed for 30 years for killing his aunt he accused of practising sorcery.

And Enga’s acting judge Justice Mekeo Gauli when handing down the sentence on Saku Uki Aiya, 21, described the killing as senseless, barbaric and brutal. 

Aiya, who hails from Yamen village, Paiela in Porgera district, Enga, was found guilty of murder after a two-day trial.

Gauli said for too long, women groups had been asking for tough sentences to be imposed on perpetrators of this gruesome act. 

The court heard that Aiya and two others blamed the death of their brother on sorcery and accused their uncle’s wife Penny Toyo. 

In the early hours of June 26, 2010 Saku and the two who are still at large, went to Toyo’s home at Tombena village, Kolombi station in Paiela.

The court was told that they held up the family using home-made guns before hitting Toyo on the forearm, neck and head using knives and an axe. 

Toyo’s family told the court during the trial of how they watched helplessly and unable to save her inside their home.

They could only watch as her blood splattered across the floor before she  collapsed an d died.

Acting Porgera police station commander Sr Sgt Simon Mek said sorcery-related killing was the first in Porgera district to reach the national court. 

“So many such cases are reported but rarely go through to the high court as relatives accept their own customary ways of settlement in the village courts,” Mek said.

Former women’s representative in the Paiela-Hewa local level government Pinema Vakai said the court decision was good and encouraged women to stop accepting compensation but take these matters to court.

“We don’t want compensation payments for our sister’s death. We have pigs, we have money. No compensation can bring our sister back to life,” Vakai said.

The court, after deducting the time Aiya spent in custody awaiting trial will serve 27 years, three months and one week at Baisu prison.

Justice Gauli said: “In my view some are using sorcery as an excuse to terminate someone’s life though the suspect may not be a sorcerer.

“We have established village, district and the national court (where they can) bring grievances to be settled rather than taking the law into their own hands.”

Gauli said accusation of sorcery was becoming prevalent but only a handful was reported in the media.