The Magistrate Court on Malekula has sentenced a woman to 18 months imprisonment for intentionally assaulting another woman over her de-facto partner.

On August 19, 2020 Mariedu Jacob appeared in Court and pleaded guilty to one count of Intentional Assault contrary to section 107 of the Penal Code [CAP 135].

This part of the law states, “No person shall commit intentional assault on the body of another person. (b) if damage of a temporary nature is caused, imprisonment for 5 years.”

The facts of the case heard by the Magistrate Court in Lakatoro, Malekula, are that on or about the 3rd of August 2020 at Bonvor village, the accused inflicted serious injuries on Lesra Menjur, the victim, using a machete (bush knife) more than once on her head, elbow and her back and she was admitted for medical attention at Norsup hospital.

The main cause of the incident was that the accused found out that the victim had a sexual relationship with the father of her child, her de-facto partner.

When the victim saw the accused that day, she knew she would be in trouble therefore she ran and the accused chased after her with the bush knife.

Jacob caught up with Menjur after chasing her for around 200 metres along the beach and assaulted her.

“Women are already considered vulnerable in the society therefore incidents like this involving women or girls assaulting each other resulting in serious injuries contradicts the whole idea and battle to end violence against women because men are always seen to be the perpetrators of violence against women,” Magistrate Trevor Naeiu said when weighing in on the decision whether or not to suspend part or the whole sentence.

The Magistrate said this unacceptable behaviour sends a totally different message to the society that in these modern days, women are not only vulnerable but also can be perpetrators of violence towards each other.

“Women and girls must learn to control their anger towards each other when it comes to their issue of their boyfriend, de-facto partner or husband cheating on them,” he said. “They must learn not to lower their value and risk themselves assaulting each other in the name of love for a cheater because they will be in trouble with the law.

“Women must know that a man who intends to cheat shows no loyalty and real love for her.

“Therefore, approaching another woman and assaulting her for having a sexual relationship with their husband or de-facto partner isn’t worth it because you will be in big trouble with the law while your husband or de-facto partner sits back, relaxes and pretends to care or have sorrow for you while you suffer the consequences.

“This behaviour is now becoming a trend of violent behaviour seen by women and girls as justifiable to assault each other for love, therefore must be stopped at this early stage before it becomes a norm amongst them.”

With this, the Magistrate deemed it not proper not to suspend part or the whole sentence so it can be a clear deterrence message to other like-minded women and girls that such behaviour is unacceptable not only by the society but also by the Court because it is a criminal offence.

The sentence was handed on Monday. The accused has 14 days to appeal.