The National, Friday 30th of November, 2012
By ADRIAN MATHIAS
DR Theo Yasause, facing charges over the February 2011 wilful murder of PNG Kumul rugby league star Aquila Emil, was yesterday jailed for 30 years.
During sentencing, the judge described the former chief executive of the Climate Change Office as “arrogant and without remorse”.
Acting National and Supreme Court judge Lawrence Kangwia said Yasause did not show any remorse and had not even offered an apology or said sorry to Emil’s family.
“Dr Yasause displayed total arrogance and it was unbecoming of a person with the highest educational qualification and a highly-respected member of the society,” the judge said when passing the sentence at the National Court in Waigani, Port Moresby.
The sentence came after a rather turbulent life in recent years for Yasause, one of the highest-educated Papua New Guineans and part of the highly connected East Sepik political elite.
He had been the chief of staff to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in 2007-08 before his appointment as the head of the Climate Change Office.
He was suspended from the position in 2009 after numerous scandals and allegations of corruption.
When he was charged with murder, leading Australian newspapers carried the story prominently.
“For a well-educated and highly-respected person in society to commit such a senseless crime was unbecoming,” judge Kangwia said yesterday.
The court was told when summing up that: “Dr Yasause shot 44-year-old ex-PNG Kumul star on Feb 4, 2011, with a gun after a confrontation over a near-collision of a vehicle outside a popular hotel where both men had spent
Emil was from Umbukul village in New Hanover, New Ireland.
The court heard that Emil was unarmed, defenceless and unsuspicious at the time he was shot.
“Dr Yasause, 44, from East Sepik, was a well-educated man and a highly-respected member of the society, who had the experiences of working in PNG and abroad,” Kangwia said.
He said Yasause had been involved in community work and was contributing to the society.
The court noted that the accused had pleaded guilty after a three-week trial and was the only bread winner in the family.
But Kangwia said the court should also consider the family of the deceased and the need for a penalty that would deter public from committing similar crimes.
He said killing innocent citizens with the use of guns in the capital city and elsewhere in the country was prevalent and that required tougher penalties to deter people from committing such crimes.
Kangwia said although Yasause was not a serial killer, the court was not convinced by his standing in the community and his service to the community as the CEO of a government organisation, with no prior convictions, that an offender would not consider his or her family welfare before committing a crime.
Kangwia said a deterrent sentence was a must and sentenced him to 30 years in jail for wilful murder and deducted a year and 10 months for the time spent in custody.
Yasause will serve 28 years and two months at the Bomana jail outside Port Moresby.