Judge jails at­tack­ers of for­mer Po­lice chief

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - JES­SICA GOUNDER Edited by Caro­line Ratu­cadra

Five men in­volved in a rob­bery in which for­mer Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Bernar­dus Groe­newald was as­saulted were jailed by the High Court in Suva yes­ter­day. They were con­victed of ag­gra­vated rob­bery and caus­ing griev­ous harm.

Judge, Jus­tice Salesi Temo, told the five men that their sen­tences were handed out in a man­ner to pro­tect the com­mu­nity.

Their sen­tences:

Jeke Vakararawa has been sen­tenced to nine years im­pris­on­ment with a non-pa­role pe­riod of eight years. Mos­ese Ta­rau has been sen­tenced to 15 years im­pris­on­ment with a non­pa­role pe­riod of 14 years. Sere­maia Mudura has been sen­tenced to 13 years im­pris­on­ment with a non­pa­role pe­riod of 12 years. Te­vita Qaqani­valu has been sen­tenced to 15 years im­pris­on­ment with a non­pa­role pe­riod of 14 years. Uate Baleiono has been sen­tenced to 11 years im­pris­on­ment with a non­pa­role pe­riod of 10 years. “This sen­tence is to de­ter would be of­fend­ers, to set pre-con­di­tion for any re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, to sig­nify that the court and the com­mu­nity de­nounce your be­hav­iour,” Jus­tice Temo said. They had in­jured Mr Groe­newald when he tried to stop the rob­bery at the Dis­till Bot­tle Shop in Flagstaff on May 21, 2015. In pass­ing sen­tence, the Jus­tice Temo was in­ter­rupted by serv­ing pris­oner Qaqani­valu who re­fused to lis­ten to the judge’s or­der of not in­ter­rupt­ing the court. He re­fused to sit down and had to be re­strained by corrections of­fi­cers. When he started to talk back to the of­fi­cers and push­ing them, Jus­tice Temo or­dered the of­fi­cers to lock him up at the cell block. Jus­tice Temo said the rob­bery was pre­planned and well or­gan­ised by the ac­cused and that it was car­ried out in a threat­en­ing man­ner to the vic­tims. He fur­ther said Mr Groe­newald was just do­ing his duty when he was at­tacked by the men.

Mos­ese Ta­rau (left) and Uate Baleiono out­side High Court yes­ter­day. Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Jeke Vakararawa.

Te­vita Qaqani­valu.

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