Young men get a chance
Va’asaumamao and David Nofovaleane were in tears at the Surpeme Court on Wednesday.
It followed the decision by Supreme Court Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai to give them non-custodial penalties after an altercation led to a man being hospitalised.
The men were jointly charged with grievous bodily harm, a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Lawyer Fuifui Ioane appeared on behalf the National Prosecution Office. In sentencing, Justice Lesatele noted that the incident which led to the charges was caused by provocation.
According to the summary of facts, the incident occurred when the victim and his friends were drinking at his house while the defendants were at Va’a’s house.
Later on that night the accused went to buy smokes from a nearby shop.
He noticed that the music from the party was too loud so he asked them to turn it down but in return the victim swore at him.
The victim also confronted the accused, went with a stick to Va’a’s house and tried to hit the accused brother.
And that’s how the beating started.
“Normally for cases like this they cannot escape prison term,” said Justice Lesatele. “The question for me is whether to impose a custodial penalty?
“I am mindful that the victim approached the defendants. If he didn’t this wouldn’t have happened. The victim was also armed with a dangerous weapon.”
The Court also accepted that the defendants are very remorseful.
“If I put you two in prison not one will come out as the same person,” said Justice Lesatele.
The defendants were convicted with one count of Grievous Bodily harm and were sentenced to 18 months probation and 50 hours of community service.