26 Oct 2007

Fiji's former navy Commander sentenced today for manslaughter following guilty plea

9:23 am on 26 October 2007

Fiji's former navy commander, Francis Kean, will be sentenced today after he pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

Kean was originally charged with the murder of 31-year old John Whippy whom he had punched at a wedding reception in late December last year.

He changed his plea to guilty when the prosecution reduced the charge to manslaughter at the start of the trial last week.

Yesterday Justice Gerard Winter heard mitigation from a former navy commander, Viliame Naupoto, and a former Land Force commander, Colonel Pita Driti, who both testified to Kean's excellence as a navy officer and commander.

Kean's lawyer, Haroon Ali Sah told the High Court that Kean had proposed to set up a trust fund for the children of the victim but this had been rejected by his wife.

Mrs Whippy told the court that the future of her 8- and 6-year old children had become bleak since their father's death.

Justice Winter was to have studied the submissions and documents submitted to him last night and will pronounce sentence today.