Following a trial, the Waigani National Court convicted Jeffery Sheekiot of Sumusamu village, Bogia, Madang Province, for one count of wilful murder.
The court found that Sheekiot, while in the company of other officers on 19 April 2013, shot Feline Bune, a 12-year-old girl, during a car chase between 7pm and 9pm.
Police were under the impression the vehicle, driven by the mother of the deceased, was stolen after they saw it being chased by another private vehicle along the Waigani drive opposite Boroko Motors.
It was between Boroko Motors and City Hall that Sheekiot fired shots on the moving vehicle that was driven by the mother of the deceased.
Three bullets went through the rear of the vehicle and hit the girl. She eventually died from loss of blood.
The court found that the bullets were discharged from a bushmaster rifle.
Autopsy report of the deceased showed there were three penetrating bullet wounds, two on her right buttock and one slightly above.
During the trial, Sheekiot did not deny that he was sitting in front left side - the passenger seat of the Police Troopcarrier Reg. No. ZBD 071. It was not denied that the police vehicle chased the vehicle the deceased was in.
The Court was ultimately satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased died from excessive loss of blood from three bullet wounds and those bullets were discharged from a bushmaster rifle.
“The only person that discharged a bushmaster rifle at the relevant time was the accused (Sheekiot). He did not deny this,” Justice George Manuhu said in his ruling.
“He said he discharged the bushmaster rifle in the air but there is overwhelming credible evidence, circumstantial and eyewitness evidence, that he fired at the Camry.”
Given the type of firearm used – a high powered firearm – Justice Manuhu said it was fired directly at a moving vehicle.
“On the evidence, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill when he discharged the firearm in that manner at the Camry,” he added.
Sheekiot is now being held at Bomana Metropolitan jail. He will return to court at a later date for submissions on sentence.