A WOMAN who drowned and killed her two infant daughters in the Rewa River was handed a suspended sentence by the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Ronika Devi was charged with manslaughter and infanticide, to which she had pleaded guilty.
Justice Janaka Bandara said Devi had taken her two daughters, Tanisa Pratap who was one year and nine months old, and an unnamed baby girl who was 20 days old to Suva City after her husband failed to return home with diapers.
Devi then took her daughters to the Rewa River, and when it was dark she dropped the 20-day-old daughter into the water.
"After reaching the water level to your chest height, you put your elder daughter, Tanisa Pratap, under water and held her in it until she stopped struggling," Justice Bandara said.
Devi admitted the offence only after she was located by her husband and taken to the police station.
"This court is of the view that even though she claims the defence of diminished responsibility with the aid of several opinions of psychiatrists, the responsibility for her act was not that grossly impaired with the abnormality of her mind," said Justice Bandara.
"Ms Devi still retains a substantial amount of responsibility for her act.
Therefore, this court observes that the degree of Ms Devi's responsibility when committing the offences is just and only just suffice to seek shelter of diminished responsibility in terms of Section 243 of the Crimes Decree 2009.
Devi was sentenced to two years suspended for three years on both counts.