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Judicial CP - October 2004

Corpun file 14163

Fiji Times, Suva, 16 October 2004

Ten years for robbery

A 25-year-old unemployed villager was jailed for ten years yesterday and to be given six strokes of the cane while in jail if the High Court approves.

No mercy was shown to Sakiasi Raikelekele, of Namotomoto Village, Nadi, after he admitted assaulting a businessman last week with a sword and robbing him. Magistrate Sayed Mukhtar Shah said being a first offender was not a reason to give him a lenient jail term.

Raikelekele admitted a charge each of robbery with violence and carrying an offensive weapon in a public place but denied a charge of criminal intimidation and pleaded not guilty to murder.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission said corporal punishment was inconsistent with Section 25 (1) of the 1997 Constitution, "as being cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment".

Commission media and promotions officer Shobhna Decloitre said the United Nations Human Rights Committee had made a similar declaration involving corporal punishment of prisoners and it could never be prescribed as a punishment under Section 25 (1).

She said under Section 293 (1) of the Penal Code of Fiji a person convicted for robbery with violence was liable to life in jail. Nadi Chamber of Commerce president Anil Goundar commended the jail term and the order for corporal punishment.

He said the sentence should be a deterrent to would-be offenders and the business community in Nadi should feel safe.

Meanwhile, four men who allegedly took part in the robbery and killing will reappear in court on October 29.

Apimeleki Vuinakelo, 26, Waisake Rokocanini, 26, Samuela Sidrau, 25, and Kitione Dawai, 25, have denied robbery and murder charges. Trial for the robbery charge is expected to start in mid-November while the murder charge will be referred to the High Court.

Copyright 2004, Fiji Times Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 14250

Fiji Times, Suva, 18 October 2004

Prisoners receive stroke: Taoka

PRISONERS continue to receive the stroke to discourage them from engaging in criminal activities, Prisons Commissioner Aisea Taoka says.

He said non-government organisations should not compare Fiji to developed countries as it would not help control crime.

"It will be very difficult to control crime if the human rights issue becomes a priority because at the end of the day, the wider community's interests should be prioritised," he said.

Mr Taoka said human rights principles were suitable for affluent societies where there was no poverty and fewer social problems.

"Fiji's case is different because people will just commit crime left right and centre if they knew the court was lenient so the human rights perspective should be considered from the Fiji situation," he said.

Mr Taoka was reacting to the sentencing of a 25-year-old unemployed villager who was jailed for ten years and ordered to get six strokes of the cane pending the High Court's approval. No mercy was shown to Sakiasi Raikelekele, of Namotomoto Village, Nadi.

Copyright 2004, Fiji Times Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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