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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Mar 16) – Five men who were charged with the murder of Solomon Islands’ Brother Nathniel Sado in February 2003 were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

They are Ronnie Cawa, Carridine Pitakaka, William Hence, Owen Isa and Giddily Isa.

Justice John Brown in delivering his decision said: "I have heard all evidence needed to be heard."

He called each of the five convicted and gave their verdict one by one.

"The penalty for murder is life imprisonment. You are all sentence to life imprisonment," Justice Brown said.

Ronnie Cawa is also on life sentence for the murder of Fr Augustine Geve whom he also murdered in the Weathercoast.

Justice Brown before giving the sentence said it is alleged that these five, acting in concert, beat Brother Sado to death at a village known as Pite on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal.

Pite was a Guadalcanal Liberation front (GLF) - controlled village at that time of the insurrection by the GLF.

Brother Sado had been imprisoned for sometime in a hole made above the roots of an abalolo tree.

Brother Sado was killed after he tried to run away the second time.

The motive for murder was that the GLF suspected Brother Sado had travelled to the Weathercoast as a spy seeking information about the activities of the GLF about Pite village.

The crown case was that the five acted together by common purpose or agreement to kill or alternatively aided and abetted each other in beating him well knowing he would die.

The crown says that it is not necessary to prove which of the accused carried out the blows, which directly caused his death.

For if they were participants in the enterprise, they are equally liable.

The crown case relies on direct evidence of two Crown witnesses Allan Sarevo and Jeffrey Kibo who were alleged to have seen beatings leading to the death, although neither witnessed Brother Sado die.

As well the crown relied on confessional material in various records of interview given by the defendants to investigating police.

Brother Sado’s body was buried at Pite village and was ultimately exhumed in October 2003.

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