A woman, who bit off part of another woman’s ear, chewed it before swallowing the lobe, has been jailed for a year and six months.
Taumasina Falaniko, 22, of Levi Saleimoa and Fagamalo, was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.
The incident happened after a volleyball game went wrong where the defendant and another woman got into a fight. Taumasina was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm.
The prosecutor was Lupematasila Iliganoa Atoa, of the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the Police summary of facts, the incident occurred on 13 March 2018.
“Taumasina Falaniko is a 22-year-old female of Levi Saleimoa and Fagamalo. She is single and currently unemployed,” the summary reads.
“The victim is a 23-year-old female of Levi Saleimoa, she is single and also unemployed.
“Prior to the offending, the defendant had been long mad at the victim during their volleyball games because the victim usually struck the ball at her.”
The defendant then challenged the victim to a fight after their volleyball game.
“Whilst fighting, the defendant bit off the victim’s lobule chewed it and swallowed,” the Court was told.
“The defendant is charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm injury with intent pursuant to section 1189 (1) of the Crimes Act 2013.
“This offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
“The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge against her.”
According to Justice Leiataualesa, a photo showing the victim’s ear, accepted by the defendant as true, shows a large part of the victim’s right ear missing.
“Described in the medical report dated 10 June 2018 in terms of a medical examination conducted on 13 March 2018 as ‘complete laceration (-3cm by 1cm surface area) right upper external ear lobe two tooth bite (type one wound),” Justice Leiataualesa told the defendant.
“Other bruises and minor injuries were noted on her face and neck.
“In your pre-sentence report, you said that the victim had challenged you to a fight.
“Today (yesterday), when questioned about the difference between what is stated in the Summary of Facts and your Pre-Sentence report, you confirmed that on the date of this incident, it was you who challenged the victim.
“You also admitted to the Probation Service that you chewed her ear and then swallowed it.
“You were not truthful to the probation service in terms of the actions of the victim but you did accept that you started the physical altercation.”
In reading out the aggravating features, Justice Leiataualesa took into consideration that the offending was premeditated.
“Firstly, an element of premeditation in your assault with your challenge to the victim because of your anger towards her,” he said.
“The assault was an assault targeting the victim’s head.
“The injury is a serious injury with the harm suffered by the victim involving the loss of a large part of her right ear being a disfigurement that will be lifelong for her and you swallowed that part of the ear that you bit off, an act that is particularly disturbing and which probably meant that the ear could not be sewed back.
“I accept for the purposes of sentencing that there was an element of provocation in the assault which arose over a period of time on the volleyball court and through the verbal challenges that followed for a fight.”
He went on to say that the assault was very serious.
“Falaniko, your assault on the victim was a serious assault because it has resulted in the permanent disfigurement of the victim,” he said.
“It was also barbaric and repugnant to community standards because not only did you bite off a large part of the victim’s ear; you then chewed it and swallowed it.
“There is no question that an imprisonment term is warranted both as a deterrent to you and others from this type of offending, but to also hold you accountable for the harm that you have caused.
“Having considered the authorities and the aggravating and mitigating features of your offending, I adopt a start point of two years and six months imprisonment.
“I deduct nine months for your prior good character, the reconciliation and apology extended, the village penalty imposed and for your remorse leaving one year and nine months imprisonment.
“From the balance, I deduct six months for your early guilty plea.
“In respect of the charge of assault contrary to section 118(1) of the Crimes Act 2013, you are accordingly convicted and sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment less anytime remanded in custody.”