Man gets 11 years for manslaughter


04-June-2012

Mr Gaswaga noted the maximum sentence prescribed by the law for manslaughter is life imprisonment and that the convict’s lawyer said the accused was a first offender aged 27 years with a family to take care of and he should be given a chance to start afresh and also look after his family members who will suffer if he is kept in prison for a very long time.

“Most importantly, the defence counsel implored the court to consider the circumstances under which the offence was committed and the fact that although there was a loss of life in this case, it was manslaughter as opposed to an intentional killing. The accused did not plan to take the life of Mr Jemmy Simeon,” he said, adding the lawyer had called for a three-year sentence “in line with the practice of the courts in such cases”.

The judge said “unlike in the case at hand, most of these cases involved family members or couples where the court had a lot of mercy on the accused as the remaining parent to look after the children of the deceased”.

He said in a case involving a trainee police officer, “the Court of Appeal reasoned that he still needed much guidance from his superiors”.

“These could be distinguished from the current case where a young man – a total stranger – apparently for no good reason, interferes with a private function and sparks off a fight in the discotheque which ends in disaster”.    

“I have taken note of the circumstances under which the offence was committed, the authorities quoted and the extenuating factors as outlined by defence counsel. This court appeals especially to the young people of our community to have respect for each other and their elders. They must also respect the law and abide by the rules governing each establishment and activity by doing the right things at the right time and place. When you decide to go out for a dance don’t resort to fighting.

“Certainly the accused did not follow these rules otherwise he would never have fought the old man and the security personnel because they had not invited him to the party. He had also been duly warned and prevented by the security personnel but he persisted.

Consequently, this country and especially the Simeon family have irreplaceably lost a very important, productive and benevolent person under circumstances that could have been easily avoided by exercising some respect and restraint.

“Having considered the mitigating factors and the defence counsel’s suggestion of three years, I shall exercise lenience by imposing a suitable sentence of 11 years in prison,” said Mr Gaswaga.

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