Five people have been given 2 years suspended sentences for kidnapping and assaulting another person with disability over a Facebook post last year.

Melinda Denny Bill, Leah Rory, Hudson Tari Junior Bebe, Morris Isaac Bebe and Angelo Ruru, kidnapped the victim from the main road at Anamburu area in Port Vila when she was about to head home from drinking kava.

They drove to the victim’s house and told her family that they were taking her to the Police Station for a short time. When they left the victim’s house, the three females assaulted the victim from Anamburu area to the VMF Camp.

While they were assaulting her, one of the males, Bebe, took a video clip of the assaulting using his mobile phone. He assisted in slapping the complainant on her butt and laughed at her.

Bill broke the victim’s clothes she was wearing at that time. Junior who was driving them increased the volume of the music so as not to draw attention to what was happening. They drove slowly to USP roundabout and back to Anamburu to drop off the victim at her house around 10pm.

Bill pleaded guilty 1 count of kidnapping, 1 count of malicious damage to property and 1 count of intentional assault.

Hudson Tari Bebe pleaded guilty to 1 count of complicity to kidnapping. Ruru, Rory and Morris Bebe pleaded guilty to 1 count of kidnapping and 1 count of intentional assault.

The maximum sentence for kidnapping is 10 years’ imprisonment and the same for complicity to kidnapping. The maximum sentence for intentional assault is 1 year imprisonment and 1 year imprisonment for malicious damage.

Having considered the mitigating and aggravating factors, Supreme Court Judge Dudley Aru, gave Bill a sentence starting point of 2 years’ imprisonment, 1 year and 8 months’ imprisonment for Rory, Morris Bebe and Ruru and for Hudson Bebe 1 is year and 6 months’ imprisonment.

Each of them pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity so their sentences were reduced by one-third Their sentences were further reduced by 6 months due to them being first time offenders and have performed custom reconciliation, which had been accepted by the victim.

Their sentences were suspended for 2 years. They will be remanded in custody to serve their sentences if they reoffend during this period.

They were given 14 days to appeal their sentences.