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Judge orders public humiliation

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 30 2008) – The mining township of Tabubil, Western province, has found a solution to deal with wife beaters: caning them in public.

In front of the Tabubil court house recently, a husband was ordered to remove his clothes and underwear to expose his bare bottom in order to receive 20 lashings from his wife.

[PIR Editor's note: Western province comprises the southwest region of Papua New Guinea's mainland peninsula and borders West Papua Province of Indonesia.]

District Court magistrate Patrick Monouluk told The National that caning was the remedy requested by the wife, in preference over a jail term of six months.

He said there were a number of factors taken into account when reaching such decision considering that the maximum sentence for beating a woman was six months.

Mr Monouluk said with that sentence, the wife and children were made to suffer when the only bread winner of the family was put behind bars.

He said women and children tended to suffer not of their own doing but that of the husband when the maximum penalty was applied.

He said the woman, in such family violence,was an important party and her views had to be taken into account before any decision could be made on the sentencing.

Mr Monouluk said in this case, the woman had made a plea to the magistrate to make an alternative punishment, which was when she asked if she could lash her husband with a cane.

The magistrate agreed and sent him out for caning by the wife.

He said after the 20 lashings, both husband and wife went home happy, with the husband thanking the magistrate for the alternative penalty.

Mr Monouluk said so far, he had made two such decisions which were now forcing men to think twice before resulting to violence against women.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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