You would be forgiven for thinking that you’d taken a trip into the 19th century, with news that Supreme Court Judge Robert Shuster sentenced two men to 13 years jail and six lashes for escaping from prison and stealing.
In fact, this sentence took place in November 2009. It was only publicly released via a Freedom of Information request this month, and the case is currently under appeal.
WCCC Coordinator, Ofa Guttenbiel Likiliki has labelled the sentence as barbaric. “There are questions that have to be asked. Why did it take so long for this to become public knowledge? And what kind of legal system do we have, where outdated methods of violent punishment are condoned. It’s sanctioned state based violence and it’s totally barbaric.”
The Crisis Centre questions the logic behind this punishment, viewing it as a move towards a justice system that motivates compliance by fear of corporal punishment.
“We already see too much violence in our homes and our schools, and sanctioning corporal punishment at the highest level of our legal system will do nothing to reduce violent incidents. Given that we are a Christian country, this just seems absurd” said Guttenbiel Likiliki.