Judge jails attackers of former Police chief
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.
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