On this day … Brothers jailed for life

TWO brothers were jailed for life by the High Court in Lautoka on this day in 1997 for the brutal murder of a 76-year-old widow.

Sentenced where Vidali Yaba, 19, and Apenisa Dovanua, 23, of Toko, Tavua.

The Fiji Times reported that Justice Sarvadanand Sadal described the case as one of the worst to come to him.

Yaba and Dovanua were found guilty of murder and robbery with violence after a two-month trial.

On July 28 in 1995, the brothers broke into the house of Nanju at Matanigata, Vatukoula, attacked her and stole $600 worth of household.

Justice Sadal said he had been on the bench for a long time and presided over many trials.

“I must say this is one of the worst cases of murder to come before me,” the article reported quoting the judge.

“Here, a 76-year-old lady was brutally assaulted in her own house.”

The report stated that the victim was hit with a cane knife on her head, punched and kicked, her head was split open, jaw broken and the bone at the base of her neck fractured.

Justice Sadal said the victim’s house was well-fenced and windows had burglar grilles.

“These two accused had cut the fence, removed the bars and gained entry through the window,” he said.

“The victim was attacked in the security of her own house.

“No one nowadays is safe in their own house, no matter how many iron bars or grilles are fitted to the house.

“I do not know where this society is heading. One must feel safe living in one’s own house.”

This newspaper reported that the presiding judge said: “Rising crime must be stopped if we are to create a safe society to live in and visitors feel safe to visit our shores.”

He then jailed the brothers for seven years each for robbery with violence and ordered the sentence to run concurrently with the life terms.

The report said the victim was found lying in a pool of blood inside her house the day after the attack.