The gruesome murder of Rajeshni Deo Sharma, 34, by her de facto partner, Imshad Izrar Ali, 38, was not a premeditated killing.
Ali killed Ms Sharma after an argument broke out between them in the kitchen of their Rewa Street home on November 1, 2009. Ali took an iron rod from a toy box and struck Ms Ali’s head with it. Then, he kicked her on the left side of her face, pressed her neck with his right leg then strangled her to death using an electrical cord.
These horrific details were pronounced by Suva High Court judge Justice Vinsent Perera yesterday while sentencing Ali to life imprisonment pursuant to Section 200 of the Penal Code.
Justice Perera said the serious breach of trust demonstrated by the accused while taking Ms Sharma’s life and the gruesome manner in which she was killed were clear aggravating factors.
He said the facts did not disclose that Ali’s power of self-control was deprived and that he was induced to assault Ms Sharma by any wrongful act done by her or insult.
However, Justice Perera stated that to further convince himself that the killing was not premeditated and in fixing the minimum term of 18-years imprisonment, he took into account the statements made by the accused in his caution interview and charge statement.
The accused had confessed that he killed his partner because he was jealous and angry.
Justice Perera also mentioned that the accused’s bail was varied on January 20, 2011 to enable him to travel to India for medical treatment.
Before travelling he gave an undertaking to return to Fiji on or before February 11, 2011 and hand over his passport to the High Court registry on February 16, 2011.
However, he chose not to return to Fiji and he was only re-presented in court after he was deported from India and handed over to local authorities in December 2016.
While he was in India, he started having a de facto relationship with an Indian lady and they had a four-year-old son together.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Abhay Singh submitted that the accused’s wife and son in India would face hardships because of his incarceration.
Justice Perera said Ali’s conduct overseas was a clear indication of his lack of remorse concerning the murder he committed in Fiji and his contempt towards the judicial system.
“If what is submitted regarding your partner in India and the son is true, only you are to be blamed regarding what they would have to endure, and no one else,” Justice Perera said.
He said such circumstances could not be regarded as a mitigating factor in the case adding that this included the accused’s medical condition and claims that his property was destroyed during Cyclone Winston and that he has no immediate family members in Fiji.
The only mitigating factor which was considered by the Court was the fact that the accused was a first offender as revealed by Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Meli Vosawale.
The accused had spent a total of one year and 10 months in custody for the offence. Thirty days was given for appeal to the Court of Appeal.