By JIMMY KALEBE
A 31-YEAR-OLD man was jailed 25 years by the National Court in Lae for a sorcery-related killing in August 2014.
Justice Lawrence Kangwia, in sentencing Gad Yakapus from East Sepik on July 22, said such killings originated from a belief and not based on evidence.
“It is a brutal killing arising from a belief in sorcery. Such beliefs, in my view, are founded on a twisted manufacture of blame on sorcery over an earlier death, which is totally amiss of the naked eye,” he said.
Justice Kangwia said Christianity had been unable to influence or convince people to stop believing in sorcery.
“It seems the churches have left it to the Government to act,” he said.
Justice Kangwia viewed the killing as analogous to a payback killing, ignited by vengeance.
“A clear warning must be sent that belief in sorcery is no justification to end another person’s life,” he said.
“It should not and must not operate as a factor in favour of an offender in sentencing.
“Courts are now treating sorcery-related killings as any other homicide cases.”
The court was told that on Aug 24, 2014, Yakapus and another person walked straight to the victim and while calling him a sorcerer, swung a bush knife and slashed the deceased twice on his neck and head in the Biwat Compound.
Submissions from the defence counsel suggested for a not so crushing sentence, taking into consideration the mitigating factors of being a first-time offender, pleading guilty at the first instance, showing remorse and that he had paid K20,000 as compensation.
State counsel submitted that sorcery-related killing was prevalent in society and was a breach of the right to life under Section 35 of the Constitution.
The counsel submitted that a custodial sentence of 20 to 30 years would be appropriate.
From the total 25 years, Yakapus will have time spent in custody deducted and the balance spent with hard labour in Buimo Prison.
By JIMMY KALEBE