​Officer gets 30-year sentence for girl's death

The police officer who was convicted in May over the shooting of a 12-year-old girl in 2013, while on pursuit, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Justice George Manuhu of the Waigani National Court today gave an oral ruling against Jeffery Sheekiot of Madang Province, after he was convicted for one count of wilful murder.

In sentencing him to 30 years, Justice Manuhu took into account that he is a policeman that the public look up to for protection.

He also said the killing of citizens by members of the police force is already prevalent, when sentencing Sheekiot.

Following a trial, 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 the 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.

Justice George Manuhu said Sheekiot had stated during the trial that he discharged the bushmaster rifle in the air but there was overwhelming credible evidence, circumstantial and eyewitness evidence, that he fired at the vehicle.

Given the type of firearm used – a high powered firearm – Justice Manuhu said it was fired directly at a moving vehicle.

Sally Pokiton