Judge echoes calls to look at polygamy

The National Court has once again echoed calls for legislators to look at polygamous marriage in the country.

A judge in delivering sentence against a woman, who was earlier convicted for the wilful murder of her husband’s other wife, says presently there are calls to end polygamy in the country.

The courts have also been flooded with similar cases and Hela residential judge, Justice Martin Ipang, says the duty is now on parliament to act.

He says until parliament acts on polygamous marriages, men are under social obligation not to marry more than one woman, unless they are able to support everyone.

“Previously polygamy was practiced to protect the land, now it is more about giving the best health and welfare to kids,” he says.

Justice Ipang joined other judges in echoing the message for parliament to relook laws of polygamy, and asked why parliament is not passing laws against polygamous marriage.

He says the husband of Grace Api Pouru, is partly to be blamed for her being in court, but added that when a woman marries a married man, there are risks to be faced in taking someone else’s husband.

Pouru, a senior nurse, is the second wife.  

She stabbed her husband’s fourth wife to death, on the evening of 20 August 2015, at Erima in Port Moresby.

During her address to the court after her conviction, she expressed remorse and said her children now suffer while she is in jail, because her husband had gone back to his first wife.

“There seems to be an advantage for men, that when the wives fight and start killing themselves, the husband moves to another wife.

“She should have husband her job to look after her, instead of running after a married man. We must think of the consequences before we embark on any act,” Justice Ipang said.

Wilful murder attracts death penalty however in this case, the court in taking all factors into consideration, decided to give Pouru 18 years jail term as her punishment.

She spent 10 months in custody prior to the sentence on Friday. She will now serve 17 years and 2 months at Bomana. 

Sally Pokiton