November 7, 2019, could be marked as one of the darkest moments for Campaign For Justice since its campaign for fairness and justice begun in 2018.
Nigel Giltrap who was convicted on June 28, 2019 and sentenced to 14 months imprisonment in July on two counts of assault charges has been let off by the Vanuatu Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court had found Giltrap guilty of one intentional assault contrary to section 107 (a) and (b) of the Penal Code Act CAP 135. But he has now been freed by the appeals bench who felt that the sentence did not reflect the nature of his offending although it maintained his guilt.
C4J has expressed its dissatisfaction after the Court of Appeal oral ruling ordering the immediate release of the owner of Nicon Slipway by varying the initial sentence imposed by the lower court from 14 months to two months.
Giltrap spent four months in prison after the court has found him guilty of assaulting Stephen and Ruth Quinto back in 2018 in Santo.
The actual footage of the CCTV camera was viewed in-front of the appeal judges that showed the middle scale of offending. The appeal judges then came back after a 10 minutes break to order Giltrap’s immediate release.
C4J has pushed hard to achieve justice in the case.
Then it felt back to the preliminary stages when the police officers and the prosecutor involved failed to advise the court of the permanent injuries sustained by the victim (Ruth Quinto). Her injuries were certified by professional medical practitioners in Australia.
Mr Quinto who travelled from Santo to Port Vila to attend the hearing also voiced grave concerns on how the case was handled from the beginning to end.
Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek found that ‘Mrs. Quinto touched Giltrap’s back and told him to behave but because he was too abusive and aggressive, Mr Giltrap then threw her on the floor with his right arm in which Chief Justice labeled as ‘pure’ aggression on his part on an old lady of 77 years of age’.
He said it was ‘a hard push by Giltrap that caused Mrs. Quinto to fall and she hit the counter heavily– the push was coupled with some force and weight and size as he was physically fit’.
Giltrap told in his defense that he was acting on self-defense but the court ruled this out after considering Quintos’ age. C4J stands with Chief Justice Lunabek that the action of someone at the age of 40’ against someone at 83 and 76 is just unacceptable within the society.
Those people who have previous conviction with the same nature and still have pending cases in court should have their rights defeated to remain in the society for the safety of the vulnerable people.
On record, Giltrap was previously convicted of assault related charges and breaches of temporary protection orders under the domestic violence act 1995 of New Zealand.
He breached that order four times.
He was convicted for assaulting his partner by tipping a can of red paint over her and he was also convicted on other five breaches of protection order obtained by his former partner.
Giltrap was also tried and convicted in October 2009.
He was sentenced to two years imprisonment and that sentence was upheld by the New Zealand Court of Appeal in 2010”.
Giltrap was released on November 7 after serving four months in custody after the Appeal Court varied his sentence.
C4J is confident that whatever the court of law may say, the truth still stands.