A MAN who initially pleaded guilty to murder yesterday has been given time by the High Court in Labasa to reconsider his plea.
Justice Daniel Goundar asked Mohammed Shahim to reassess his plea after learning of his background of poverty.
Shahim allegedly killed a five-year-old boy with his fist on January 28 last year.
Yesterday he was represented by Legal Aid lawyer Mele Lemaki.
Mr Shahim told the court he had lived in a two-bedroom house in Labasa without electricity supply with his five children and three adults, and depended on homegrown vegetables for meals.
He said his family earned about $40 a week and that they usually fetched water from a nearby well for drinking, washing and cooking. Mr Shahim said the victim and his mother moved in with them for about one year before he decided to chase them away.
Justice Goundar said it was only proper for the accused to think about his plea carefully so he wouldn't regret it later.
"Be mindful that the maximum sentence for murder is life imprisonment and I don't want you to regret pleading guilty to the charge for the rest of your life," he said.
State lawyer Sekonaia Vodokisolomone did not object to the decision.
Justice Goundar demanded the presence of the victim's mother in court for evidence.
He told Mr Shahim to seek forgiveness from the victim's mother so he would have peace.
The case will be called again at 10am today.