Man sentenced to 18 months in jail for obstructing police during 2021 riot


A 21-year-old man, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for his involvement in obstructing police officers while executing their duties during a riot on November 24, 2021.

This is the case of Ruebenson Kedi, who pleaded guilty to the charge of obstructing Police officer while in execution of his duty.

The sentence was handed down by Chief Magistrate Emma Garo.

CM Garo said the offense of obstructing a police officer in the execution of their duty carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

However, she acknowledged Kedi’s guilty plea and his status as a first-time offender.

“I am of the view that the starting point should be the maximum of two years imprisonment. I deduct 6 months to reflect the mitigating factors that support a reduction in sentence. I impose a sentence of 18 months imprisonment. Time spent in custody is taken into account,” stated Ms. Garo.

Addressing Kedi directly, Garo pointed out that he had taken part in setting up a roadblock during a period of unrest in Honiara. The riot had resulted in property damage, arson, and theft, causing significant losses for businesses and families.

Garo said that Kedi and his group could have aided the police by refraining from participating in the disturbance, but they chose not to. The court underlined that at times of community crisis, citizens should assist law enforcement by staying home and avoiding trouble.

The court’s findings established that on the night of November 24, 2021, Kedi and others erected a roadblock in the Henderson area between 10 pm and 11 pm. When a police vehicle approached, they fled toward the GBR road. Kedi’s reasoning for his involvement was that he had heard about the riot and went to observe the situation.

Upon arriving at Henderson Court and witnessing the chaos, he took part in setting up the roadblock by carrying a table to obstruct the road. The court noted that such group offenses often occur during riots.

The court highlighted the importance of not obstructing police officers in their duty to maintain peace and security, especially during times of unrest.

The verdict aimed to discourage young individuals like Kedi from participating in such activities, emphasizing the necessity of supporting law enforcement efforts.

Ruebenson Kedi’s case serves as a reminder that the public interest lies in upholding law and order and aiding the police in their mission to protect the community, especially during challenging security situations.

The court’s decision reflects the need for immediate punitive measures to deter such actions and promote social responsibility.

Public Prosecutor Lindsay Temaika of the Director Public Prosecution appears for the crown while Roria Sikua of Public Solicitor’s Office represents the accused.

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