28/10/2021

Chief ordered 8 years in prison for stabbing wife to dead

A father has been given eight years behind bars after he admitted knifing down his wife during an argument they had.

Justice Andree Wiltens said that John Weman from Dolop village in Gaua admitted the summary of facts that were presented before the court as true.

Weman and Roselyn had been married for 15 years prior to this incident. On November 20, 2020, there was an argument between them and Weman attacked Roselyn Weting to her stomach with a bush knife. The medical report stated that Roselyn Weting died as a result of penetrating stab wounds.

Court affidavits revealed that there were three deeply penetrating stab wounds to her abdomen. That caused massive internal bleeding. The judge said that despite extensive medical and surgical interventions, the stab wounds led to her death in less than 48 hours.

The pathologist’s report indicates that acute kidney failure due to hypovolemia and septic shock was the cause of death. That was caused by the stab wounds.

When interviewed, Mr Weman fully admitted his offending.

Justice Wiltens said that the sentence start point is assessed by having regard to the maximum penalty available for this offence and factoring in the mitigating and aggravating aspects of the offending.

The maximum sentence for intentional homicide is a term of 20 years imprisonment.

The court took into consideration the aggravating aspects including the unprovoked nature of the attack, the use of a lethal weapon, a bush knife, against an unarmed female, the number of blows struck, which totals 5 in all and the breach of trust.

The court also took into account the fact the offending occurred in the family home where Roselyn Weting should have been safe before setting the sentence start point that to 11 years imprisonment.

The court said Weman pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity. That indicates an acknowledgement by him of his wrong-doing, and it has saved Court time and expense.

“I do not consider, regarding the number of blows struck, that the plea reflects true remorse. For his prompt plea I reduce the sentence start point by 25%”, Justice Wiltens said.

“Mr Weman is 34, with five children now dependent on him. He is a chief in the community with no previous convictions. He operates a boat and deals in copra and kava to sustain his family. There has been no custom reconciliation ceremony, but he has been fined heavily by his community. He indicates that he will pay the fine in due course”.

The court further reduced the sentence start point by three months and noted that he professes regret and remorse but the PSR writer considered his explanation for the offending to be minimising and justifying his offending.

“In my view, 5 distinct and separate blows with a bush knife are not a reflection of his wife merely swearing at him”, the judge said.

The end sentence I impose is eight years imprisonment. It is to run from  December 2, 2020.