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Judicial CP - February 2008

Corpun file 20022


Fiji Times, Suva, 16 February 2008

Caning order thrown out

By Mereseini Marau

A HIGH Court judge has set aside a magistrate's decision to cane two men who assaulted a tourist leaving him blind in one eye.

Justice Kishor Govind of the High Court in Lautoka said corporal punishment was unconstitutional and set aside the sentence of caning but upheld their jail terms.

Last month, Magistrate Syed Mukhtar Shah jailed Joseph Christopher and Vinay Vishal for 10 years each and ordered that they each receive four strokes.

Mr Shah, while sentencing Christopher, 23, an engineer of Suva, said he hoped the corporal punishment would act as a deterrent to those intending to commit serious offences.

Christopher, Vishal, 30, and Mohammed Ifran, 22, were charged with robbery with violence for assaulting and robbing Tim Buckhall, a tourist from England.

Their accomplice Nazrin Nisha, 28, a canteen operator, was jailed for three years.

Christopher and Vinay were convicted of assaulting and robbing Mr Buckhall while Nisha was convicted of being a party to the crime.

Mr Shah said he had noted that a lengthy jail term did not seem to deter people from committing serious crimes.

He said corporal punishment for serious offences was recommended in the Penal Code and magistrates could order for it when they felt that the offence was very serious.

"For the 17 years I have been sitting on the Bench, I have never seen such an offence which is as serious as this one," he said.

"This is the worst of the robbery with violence cases that I have come across where the victim suffered multiple fractures on his face and skull and a loss of an eye.

"The offence of robbery with violence is prevalent in Fiji nowadays and it is the duty of the court and me as a Magistrate to pass a sentence which reflects the gravity of the offence."

Copyright 2008, Fiji Times Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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