By JEFFREY ELAPA
FORMER Madang governor James Yali failed in court yesterday to have his 12-year sentence for rape reduced to eight years.
But he will be released on parole, and will not have to serve the balance of his time behind bars.
Mr Yali had appealed against his sentence, and was in court yesterday to hear the decision.
He was jailed in January 2006 for raping his wife’s 17-year-old sister.
He appealed against the sentence claiming it was manifestly excessive in all circumstances.
But the Supreme Court rejected this.
“We accordingly confirm the sentence and dismiss the appeal against the sentence,” Justice Panuel Mogish read out the ruling on behalf of the other judges on the panel.
Yali refused to comment as he was leaving the court house.
But chairman of the Parole Board Sir Kubalan Los said in a statement yesterday Yali was granted parole and the decision was based on merit.
He said while out of jail, Yali would serve the rest of his time under close supervision by community-based correction officers.
Sir Kubalan refuted suggestions Yali would contest the Rai Coast by-election, saying restrictions apply to State prisoners on parole.
He said the decision to grant parole to Yali was done after hearing views from sectors of the community, including the victim and church and community groups.
Reports swirled in Madang, Yali was going to walk out of Madang prison yesterday.
However, Beon commander Joe Jako, when contacted yesterday afternoon, said acting Correctional Service Commissioner Henry Wavik directed them not to release Yali until they receive the original release order.