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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Mar. 1) - A former church deacon found guilty on two counts of rape has been allowed to go home virtually free by the National Court in Lae.

Before the court was Jerry Buka of Angoram in East Sepik Province, now a resident of Lae, who was found guilty of raping a widow.

Sentencing Buka last Friday, acting Judge George Manuhu imposed a seven-year suspended sentence and placed him on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Justice Manuhu cited mitigating factors in Buka’s favour as this being his first offence, not being a threat to the community, being a respected community member and being a deacon in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

But Lae’s Office of the Public Prosecutor immediately rejected the sentence, saying it made a "mockery of the justice system" and also went against public outrage against crimes against women and children.

An officer said an application would be filed to seek a judicial review of the sentence.

The court had heard that Buka raped a widow — a mother of five — in his Bumbu settlement home on the nights of May 31 and June 1, 2001.

The woman, the court documents show, had befriended the Buka family through their children who attended school together as well as being fellow SDA followers.

She had gone to the Buka family home with her children to spend some time. On the third night, Buka came out to the living room where the victim was asleep with her son, grabbed her and dragged her into the room. He threw her down on the bed beside his wife and raped her.

The court heard that Buka refused to listen to her pleas to stop and instead ordered his wife to hold down the victim while he raped her. He told the wife to bring the lamp closer to the bed so "they could see what they were doing".

The court also heard that Buka forced the woman to perform certain sexual acts on him and his wife. He again raped her the next night, this time with Buka allegedly using more force, including slapping the victim across the face when she resisted.

The victim also told of how Buka used a pornographic magazine, tendered as evidence, to copy and perform sexual acts on her and his wife. 

Police expect to file further charges in connection with this case.

March 1, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:



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