Court acquits man of Bellona murder


CHIEF Justice Sir Albert Palmer has acquitted a man of the murder charge relating to the incident which occurred in Bellona in 2019.  

Sir Albert in delivering judgment yesterday said he is not satisfied crown has established to the requisite standard that the killing was done with malice aforethought, that the defendant intended to cause the death of or grievous bodily harm to the deceased and disproved the defence of self-defense raised by the defendant.

“I enter a finding of not guilty and order that the defendant be acquitted herewith, he is entitled to be released at the rising of the court herewith,” Sir Albert said.

This is the case of Bruno Sapa who had been accused of killing a man at Pauta Village on April 2, 2019, Bellona Island.

The deceased in this case was a 19-year-old man from Bellona Island.

Prosecution said a group of boys including the deceased were drinking on the morning of April 2, 2019, and a heated argument arose about the elections which led to the fight between the deceased and defendant.

He entered a not guilty plea and a trial was conducted on his case.

Sir Albert said the burden of proof lies with Prosecution who is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to cause the death of or grievous bodily to the deceased.

Sir Albert after analysing the evidence produced before the court said that he is satisfied that the evidence is consistent that he was trying to stop the deceased from what he was doing at that time.

There is no evidence of any intention at that time to kill the deceased or cause grievous bodily harm to him, instead it was the deceased who had sought to attack him, if he had the intention to kill the deceased, he could have attacked him first, but he did not, Sir Albert said.

Sir Albert said the doctor’s opinion which is uncontested is relevant in my considered view to the question of self-defence, for it relates directly to the pre-emptive strike of the defendant in throwing the spear at the deceased.

“I am satisfied this is similar to what the defendant faced in this case, the fact scenario is consistent with a pre-emptive strike done to defend himself from someone he reasonably believed was about to attack him, in perceiving that imminent threat to his life, he threw the spear at the defendant and thereby fatally injured him.

“I am satisfied his action in throwing the spear was in response to a reasonable apprehension of death or serious bodily harm,” Sir Albert said.

Sir Albert also said the issue of provocation has been raised as an alternative in this case by the defence in the event that self-defence is not upheld, that however has not been the case and therefore it would not have been necessary to consider the alternative defence of provocation.

Stanley Aupai of the Public Solicitor’s Office represented the accused while Margaret Suifaasia of the Public Prosecution appears on behalf of the crown.

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