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Fiji Time: 11:02 AM on Thursday 17 April

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Gunboy, 10, guilty of death

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, July 19, 2013

A TEN-YEAR-OLD boy has been found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of a six-year-old in Sabeto last year.

And Lautoka High Court judge Justice Janaka Bandara said parents and adults present at the Sabeto compound where six-year-old Mohammed Khubeb Khan died from a gunshot wound were gravely negligent in their duty to provide care for the children involved in the tragedy.

He said the negligence "created this chaotic and catastrophic environment at the cost of a life".

At the time of the incident, the juvenile was accompanied by his 14-year-old cousin and the deceased.

They were with an uncle — Mohammed Rizwan Khan — who is facing a charge of manslaughter.

The four were on a hunting trip on January 27 when the tragic accident occurred.

The boy and his parents from Auckland, New Zealand, were in the country for a holiday.

According to earlier police reports, Mohammed Khubeb died instantly from a shrapnel discharge that entered his neck while his 14-year-old cousin was also admitted to the Lautoka Hospital for serious injuries sustained during the shooting.

In sentencing the young boy on Wednesday, Justice Bandara said the case was an instance where the juvenile offender required rehabilitation rather than being subjected to general deterrence or retribution.

"It is best if the juvenile offender undertakes extensive counselling program," he said.

"It would be inevitable that the juvenile offender and his family will leave the jurisdiction of Fiji once they are through with this court process.

"Thereafter, even the long arm of the law of this country might not be in a formidable position to reach the juvenile offender."

Justice Bandara said it was the responsibility of the parents of the juvenile offender to assure their son did not repeat a similar act.

"It is entirely up to the parents of the juvenile offender to decide what cause of action they wish to pursue to overcome this possible risk."

For their part, the parents of the child were both ordered to pay $5000 each to the High Court to assure the good behaviour of the juvenile for the next seven years until he crosses the threshold of a juvenile.

The father of the child was also ordered to pay an extra $2500 to the High Court.