Manslaughter convict has sentence reduced

Update: 5:29PM A MAN convicted of manslaughter had his jail term reduced by two years after he appealed against a 12-year sentence meted out by the High Court in Lautoka in 2012.

Epeli Uluikavoro Drau was convicted of manslaughter, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and resisting arrest.

He was also charged with one count of robbery with violence but was acquitted by the trial judge who ruled there was a lack of evidence.

In his appeal, Drau challenged the imposed sentence on the basis that evidence related to an acquitted charge had been used in passing sentence.

In his judgement, Court of Appeal judge Justice William Calanchini said the State agreed that the trial judge fell in error when he considered the acquitted charge of robbery with violence during sentencing.

“I am of the view that the learned trial judge erred in taking into consideration robbery as an aggravating factor,” Justice Calanchini said.

“Even if the appellant had been convicted of robbery, it would have been incorrect to take that into account as an aggravating factor in passing sentence for manslaughter for that would amount to double counting.”

The new prison term for Drau was 10 years with a non-parole term of eight years with effect from March 23, 2012.