Man jailed for more than 3 years

Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clark yesterday sentenced a 26-year-old male to three years and two months imprisonment. 

Ava Jeffery Salapō of Vaiee, Vaitele Fou and Satapuala is charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to a taxi driver. He was represented by Maiava Visekota Peteru.

Justice Leiataualesa’s told the defendant that the circumstance of the offending was very serious.

“I accept that you had been drinking and you saw the victim, hailed his taxi and sat in the back seat behind him,” said Justice Leiataualesa.

“You asked to be taken to a fairly scheduled place at the sea wall at Vaiala and there from the back, you slit his throat. You then tried to leave the scene in the victim’s taxi but the taxi got stuck.

“You are fortunate that the victim did not die, such acts of cutting a person’s throat with a knife being very dangerous and serious.”

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Justice Leiataualesa said there was a clear element of premeditation in the offending. The court also accepted that the defendant was remorseful.

“That you are a person of prior good character and that this act by you was entirely out of character.

“I also accept that this may have been influenced by your intoxicated state but that however, is no excuse.”

The court heard that prosecution sought five years as a starting point for sentence.

“Your counsel seeks a non-custodial sentence; however a custodial sentence is warranted in your case as a deterrent to you and others who may consider such cowardly act on others,” said Justice Leiataualesa.

“The seriousness of your assault in cutting the victim’s throat in the circumstances shows that you did warrant a custodial sentence.

“I have referred to the authorities that have been referred to by prosecution and adopt five year starting point for sentence.”

For Ava’s genuine remorse and his prior good character, Justice Leiataualesa deducted six months respectively for each of them and from the remainder he deducted 10 months for his guilty plea.  

 “Accordingly, you are convicted and sentence to three years and two months imprisonment less time remanded in custody.”

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