Soldier’s appeal bid fails

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THE Waigani Supreme Court has refused a Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) officer leave to appeal a sentence for assault causing bodily harm to his star sportswoman Debbie Kaore over a duet TikTok video.
Waigani Supreme Court Judge David Cannings said yesterday that the maximum sentence for the charge was three years’ jail and Lieutenant Murray Oa was given two years so it was not excessive.
Justice Cannings said there was no arguable case given that the assault was serious, which included punching the victim in the face with a clenched fist and placing a hot iron on various parts of her body.
The defence lawyer, among his grounds of appeal, submitted that Oa was a first-time offender and had shown remorse.
He added that there was no consideration given by the sentencing judge.
The State argued that the maximum sentence for this offence was three years and Oa’s two years imprisonment was within range. The State further submitted that it was not excessive so leave should not be granted. Justice Cannings upheld the State’s submission and refused leave to appeal the sentence.
Oa was convicted last Nov 29 and sentenced on Dec 31 for assault causing grievous bodily harm to Kaore, a rugby international and former Pacific Games boxing gold medallist.
The court also heard that Oa was appealing his conviction.
On June 4, 2020, Oa, attached to Murray Barracks and living at Goldie Barracks, arrived home intoxicated with alcohol and began questioning Kaore over the video she made over TikTok.
Before Kaore explained, Oa punched her on the face with his fists.
The victim took some punches and lost her balance, falling to the floor.
Oa then held out a heated iron and placed it on her left thigh and burned her.
He continued burning her on her left cheek, chest and abdomen while she cried in pain. Oa also hit her twice on the left side of the forehead with the iron as she struggled to get back on her feet.
Kaore managed to escape later and sought help from the military police at the barracks.
She was treated at the military aid post at the barracks and referred to the Port Moresby General Hospital for medical examination and further treatment.
Oa’s bail application will be heard on April 11.