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Lautoka Man Sentenced Afresh For Manslaughter

Lautoka Man Sentenced Afresh For Manslaughter
March 14
10:00 2018


A Lautoka man had his manslaughter sentence decreased from 12-years to 10-years imprisonment following a decision by the Fiji Court of Appeal on March 8, 2018.

The appellant, Epeli Uluikavoro Drau, was sentenced on March 26, 2012 to 12-years imprisonment with a non-parole period of ten years.

In a decision by the Appeal’s Court, the accused’s sentence in the High Court was quashed and he was ordered to serve a 10-year jail term effective from March 23, 2012 with a non-parole period of eight years imprisonment.

Drau was also charged with robbery with violence, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and resisting arrest. However, he was acquitted for the three charges because of lack of evidence.

In his appeal, Drau complained that the learned trial Judge had sentenced him on the basis that the deceased was killed in the course of the robbery with violence, of which he was acquitted.

He also argued that the sentence was on the higher end of the tariff.

In his evidence, Prem Narayan (deceased) son said he was drinking kava along with his father, his brother and a neighbour at about 10pm on March 13, 2009 when Drau entered their house drunk.

The witness saw Drau snatching packets of cigarettes from the deceased inside their shop adjacent to their house.

He was also seen taking money from the cash till.

The witness also testified that he saw Drau push the deceased and hit him twice on his chest and face.

Justice of Appeal Justice Anthony Fernando said he was of the view that the learned trial Judge had erred in considering robbery as an aggravating factor.

“Even if the Appellant had been convicted for robbery, it would have been incorrect to take that into account as an aggravating factor in passing sentence for manslaughter, for that would amount to double counting,” Justice Fernando said.

“However the learned trial Judge in my view could have taken into consideration the violent events leading up to the commission of the offence of manslaughter and that this had been an unprovoked attack on the 50-year-old man.”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

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