Court awaits report for sentence

The Waigani National Court has deferred the sentence of the man who was found guilty of murdering former diplomat, the late Dennis Taylor Bebego, to next week

The sentence was deferred to allow time for officers from the Community Based Corrections Probation Service to interview Southern Highlands man, Billy Sapsi Pokea and produce a Pre-sentence Report.

This report is vital in assisting the court to decide its sentence against Pokea.

During submission on sentence last month, Pokea asked the court to impose a suspended sentence term on him due to his health condition.

Justice Nicholas Kiriwom in adjourning the sentence said this report will assist the court to come up with a just decision.

An officer from the Community Based Corrections Probation Service told the court they can complete that in four days.

The sentence is expected at the end of next week.

On May 15, Pokea was given the opportunity to address the court before submissions were made by counsels on what his appropriate sentence should be.

He spoke of his history as a public servant for 26 years and his contribution to the country.

He also highlighted his family background and the fact that he has children who are still in school when asking for the leniency of the court.

He closed his address with a request to have him transferred to the Southern Highlands Province to serve his term should the court impose a custodial sentence.

His lawyer submitted in court that a non-custodial sentence would be appropriate and his client put on probation due to his age and medical condition.

Pokea was convicted on May 11 over the murder of Bebego after he conducted a trial against him and was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he attacked Bebego with a busk knife with intentions to kill him.

Bebego’s body was found lying in a pool of blood in his own office on July 5, 2014, at the Department of Foreign Affairs office at Waigani after a scuffle with Pokea.

The court refused to accept the evidence Pokea told the court during the trial simply because he gave a detailed account of what transpired on July 5, 2014, during a recorded interview with police five days after the offence was committed.

During the trial, Pokea told the court that he was under intense duress in police custody after he was picked up on July 10, 2014, and was forced to sign a document, which was the record of interview, without knowledge of its content.

He also told the court he was framed by the police and Foreign Affairs staff over Bebego’s death. The court ruled otherwise.

Sally Pokiton