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Judicial CP - July 2008

Corpun file 20793

The Post-Courier, Port Moresby, 30 July 2008

Magistrate caned for whipping

By Todagia Kelola

THERE is no provision in the law for a convicted man to be caned in public.

That's the word from the acting Chief Magistrate Steven Oli when commenting on an alleged sentence imposed by a magistrate in Tabubil for an offence of violence against a woman.

The offender was ordered to remove his clothes and underwear and be whipped by his wife 20 times as a restorative punishment and avoid going to prison for six months as per the wife's request. She was the victim of the offence that came to court.

Mr Oli said although it was the discretion of the magistrate, on pleas by the victim who might suffer double punishment if her husband who is the offender went to jail, there is no provision for the offender to be given that punishment.

But the magistrate concerned Patrick Monouluk denied that he ordered the caning, saying that on the court record, it was a sentence of six months imprisonment.

When the court concluded, the victim who is the wife pleaded through the prosecutor for her to whip her husband, instead of him going to jail and they approached me so the husband was whipped by her, and they all happily left, said Mr Monouluk.

Mr Monouluk said from evidence tendered the accused had badly assaulted his wife, causing grievous bodily harm and he sentenced him to six months imprisonment but then it would have been a double punishment for the wife and children who rely on him as their bread winner. The wife through the prosecutor pleaded for whipping instead of imprisonment.

On the courts record it is six months imprisonment, he said.

Mr Oli on the other hand confirmed that the Chief Magistrate had received a copy of the decision two weeks ago and that he was reported to be unhappy with the ruling which was definitely not within the scope of the law.

Acting Public Prosecutor Jack Pambel when contacted stated that he was amazed at such rulings and said in his entire legal experience in the profession he had not come across any summary or criminal offence act for such matters. He said the accused's other recourse was to appeal that decision.

Copyright, 2008, Nationwide News Pty Limited

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