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Court dismisses appeal

Mere Naleba
Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A MAN convicted of aiding three inmates escape from prison had his appeal against sentence dismissed by the High Court in Suva.

Savenaca Raqauqau was sentenced to 21 months for helping Sanaila Tabuavalu, Frank Konave and Viliame Tuibua escape from the custody of Sergeant Major Eliki Raloka on November 18 last year.

Raqauqau appealed against his sentence on the grounds that it was harsh and severe, the magistrate erred by selecting three years as the starting point, the magistrate did not consider him a first offender, and did not give discount for his mitigation; the magistrate also did not fix a non-parole period.

High Court judge Justice Janaka Bandara said: "I see no reason to interfere with the final sentence imposed by the lower court. The offenders, who were willing participants to this kind of offences, must know that they will receive an immediate custodial sentence."

He said the sentence was not harsh and severe as Raqauqau had helped four inmates escape from custody.