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Accused in stabbing case pleads for forgiveness

A man — accused of stabbing a woman in the face with a stick used to stir cocoa beans — has asked the Court for forgiveness and a second chance to become a better man.

Afa Tila, 38, of Satuimalufilufi, pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily injury to his 17-year-old wife. 

Presiding is Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke. 

Attorney General’s office lawyer, Quentin Sauaga was the prosecutor. 

In the Supreme Court on Friday, Tila said he was wrong to have done what he did to his wife. 

“Your Honour whatever you decide I urge you to forgive me for being foolish,” said the accused as he continued to cry. 

“I beg you and those that have been affected because of my actions to please forgive me, I have learnt my lesson and this will be the last time I will come before you in Court.” 

Justice Leiataualesa then asked Tila what lessons he had learnt. 

In response, he said he is regretful and does not want to return to Tafaigata prison. 

“Whatever God’s will is I will do so and I will change my ways and stay away from trouble.”

At this point Justice Leiataualesa reminded the accused that cases of domestic violence often leads to custodial sentences.

“It is because of the prevalent of domestic violence in our community, and that is well documented in the recent report of the Ombudsman’s Office that it says domestic violence is an issue,” he said. 

Furthermore, he emphasised there seems to be a prevailing attitude from some men that it is okay to beat up their wives and partners. 

But such behaviour has no place in Samoa and it is for that reason that the Court imposes custodial sentence to deter it from happening, said Justice Leiataualesa. 

Once again Tila was asked why the Court should approach his matter differently. 

“I regret what I did,” he replied. 

Justice Leiataualesa then adjourned the matter for sentencing on Tuesday 25 June 2019. 

According to the summary of facts, Tila, who is unemployed, got into an argument with his wife on 5 March 2019. 

She left to sleep at her family house on that night. 

The following day while the 17-year-old was in the kitchen making Samoan cocoa, the accused approached her and tried to make amends.   

But she told him to leave and she wanted a divorce, as she was tired of being beaten by him repeatedly, because of his jealousy towards her. 

The accused did not leave but continued talking to her in an attempt to get back with her. However, the victim remained silent for a while and then again asked him to leave her alone.  

Around 3pm to 4pm in the afternoon, whilst Tila was trying to put back the plate of cocoa beans on the fire pit, he dropped the plate and the cocoa beans were scattered on the ground. 

This made him upset and he told off the victim. The victim’s mother heard the commotion and told the defendant, that he should have left when he was told to and leave the cocoa to the victim. 

While the victim was picking up the cocoa beans, the accused stabbed his wife with the stick used to stir the cocoa, aiming at her right eye. 

But the victim dodged the attack and it landed on her right shoulder. 

Tila continued and stabbed her for the second time, again aiming at the woman’s right eye. The victim moved her head upwards and the stick penetrated just below her right eye.  

The victim slapped the stick away, which broke in the exchange, but one part of it remained embedded in her eye.  

Her mother pushed the defendant away from the victim and told him to leave.

The woman was taken to Leulumoega-tuai hospital, but was transferred to Motootua hospital on the same day, in order to undergo an operation to remove the stick, which was wedged below her eye. 

As a result of the offending, the victim sustained two lacerations — below her right eye and on her right shoulder, which required two stitches.  

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