October 11, 2021 - 218 views


A 46-year-old father of two, who brutally tortured and killed his wife in cold-blood has been sentenced to 40 years imprisonment last month (September 22, 2021).

Sitting at the National Court in Lae, National and Supreme Court judge, Justice Lawrence Kangwia says the prisoner, Ismael Amjoni had no regard for the sanctity of life when he had killed his wife in their house, and carried and left the body at a nearby creek. The murder occurred in the Morobe province.

Justice Kangwia describes it as a premeditated killing where the victim was tortured to death due to the multiple injuries on the body.

He says the injuries were also varied, with stabbings, cutting and severing of body parts.

He further describes the decease as suffering excruciating pain before her death.

The prisoner had cooperated with police, but had decided to remain mute throughout his trial before being convicted for murder.

Justice Kangwia when considering an appropriate jail sentence had highlighted what guidelines by the Supreme Court in similar cases.

The Supreme Court, in the renowned criminal 2005 case of Mau Kovi versus the State, has determined the worst category attracting life imprisonment for murder as:

  • Premeditated killing;
  • Brutal killing in cold blood;
  • Killing of innocent, harmless person;
  • Killing in the course of committing another serious offence; and
  • Complete disregard for human life.

Justice Kangwia says Amjoni should have been charged for wilful murder.

From the evidence before the Court there was a strong intention to cause death, but he was charged with the lesser offence of murder.

Justice Kangwia says: “Be that as it may, this case is not one where the killing occurred in the course of committing another serious offence. It is a premeditated killing where the victim was tortured to death. It is reflected in the multiple injuries on the body.”

“From the multiple injuries found on the body, the only reasonable conclusion is that the prisoner took time to cause the injuries which were scattered all over the body. The multiple injuries could not have been caused if he was in a hurry. The killing was inside his house and not somewhere where he would have been disturbed. The knife used was left behind in the house. In the decision on verdict the Court determined that if another person had intended to kill the deceased, it would have been swift.”

“The killing was brutal and cold blooded. Brutality is amplified in the medical report of multiple wounds on various parts of the body.”

“The killing was on an innocent harmless person. There is no evidence that the deceased did something untoward to be blameworthy for torture. It is safe to assume that the deceased was also unarmed at the time she met her fate.”

“Having considered that most of the determinations under category four of the Manu Kovi guidelines are present, what then is the relevant sentence that should be imposed.”

“In my view this case falls into the worst category of murder. Most of the relevant determinations under category four of Manu Kovi are satisfied. It demands the maximum prescribed penalty. The only mitigating factor is that the prisoner is a first-time offender. That falls into insignificance given the very serious nature of the offence he committed.”

“I would not hesitate to impose the maximum prescribed penalty. However, it was not sought by the State. Lack of request for the maximum penalty dissuades me from imposing life imprisonment. Even though it is a fetter of discretion by the absence of a request, a sentence in lieu of it is appropriate. The prisoner is sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. The sentence is premised on the fact that he is now aged 40 years.”

“The time in pretrial custody shall be deducted and the balance shall be served at CIS Buimo.”


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