BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE High Court has imposed a suspended sentence on a 29-year-old woman guilty of killing her new-born baby.
High Court Judge Justice Maelyn Bird in sentencing told the woman that her action had deprived the child of the right to life.
“You had no regard to human life, a right which is provided for and protected under our national Constitution.
“Having noted the views of the Court of Appeal and this court on sentencing of like offenders, I wish to state that this type of offending in increasing in our country. A clear message needs to be sent out to offenders and would-be offenders that the courts do not condone and will not tolerate these types of offences,” Justice Bird.
This case occurred on March 23, 2018, where a woman delivered a male child at the village in Russell Central Islands Province.
The deceased infant was under the age of twelve months at the material time. On that date between 4am and 5am, neighbours heard the woman cry very loudly behind their kitchen house and not long after a neighbour heard the sound of a baby crying from the same direction behind the kitchen.
Ms Bird told the woman that from that location, she took the baby and threw it at a koilo tree. The baby only cried once and stopped. She drowned the baby in the sea and put a big rock on top of the body, she then went and hid the body at a different location.
“After giving birth to the baby, you went and sat inside a shallow part of sea on the beach. The sea around you was full of blood. You told your sister that you have given birth to a snake and you did not know where that snake had gone to. You then swan further out to sea with only your head out of the sea. You were pulled out from the sea and taken to Pipisi Clinic for medical examination. You told the nurse that you aborted the baby. The medical examination showed that it was a full-term baby,” Bird said.
After considering the circumstances of the case and taken into account the delay in the prosecution of the case, the court views that as an unreasonable delay which is caused by the office of the DPP.
The offence was committed on March 23, 2018. This matter was committed to this court on January 15, 2020. The information against you was filed by the office of the DPP on April 12, 2021, some 15 months after committal
Therefore, the court put the starting point at 20 months imprisonment, for the aggravating features, Ms Bird increases the sentence by 12 months, and for mitigating features and especially the woman’s guilty plea, she reduced the sentence by 12 months.
However, for the delay in the timely prosecution of the matter, Ms Bird further reduce the sentence by 12 months. And the total sentence to serve is one of 8 months imprisonment and further ordered to be wholly suspended for 12 months.