Man jailed for 40 years for sorcery-related killing


THE Goroka National Court has jailed a man for 40 years for murdering another man whom he accused of practising sorcery.
In court was Rex Paso, whom Judge Joseph Yagi said had no right to kill his victim, Kuta Yanaga, but he did so without any justification.
He said that by taking the law into his own hands, Paso was an accuser, prosecutor and judge.
“Parliament recently endorsed that perpetrators of sorcery-related killings be sentenced to death considering the prevalence of such killings,” Yagi said.
“The belief in sorcery was practised by our ancestors but PNG has come of age and should do away with such beliefs.”
Paso, from Kasokana village in Okapa, Goroka, is married with two children.
The court heard that he had accused Yanaga of sorcery but there was an ongoing feud between the Pasos and the Yanagas who were distant relatives.
Paso and his family accused Yanaga of killing their father awhile back and so took revenge.
Yanaga is an elder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Yagi said that while Paso was a first-time offender but he had pleaded not guilty.
The court recognised that the killing by a group that included Paso was done in cold blood with factory and homemade guns and with a strong desire to kill and no regard to the sanctity of life.