Date set for sentencing of man who killed his wife

The Supreme Court has set a date for the sentencing of a man from Lalomanu, who killed his wife last year, in a case of domestic violence.

The defendant, Sosene Liona, appeared before Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese, this week. The Chief Justice then scheduled the sentencing of Liona before Supreme Court Justice, Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma.

Liona had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to an incident where he killed his 52-year-old wife. The incident took place on 24 July last year. 

Liona’s guilty plea was entered with Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.

The defendant was supposed to be sentenced by Chief Justice Satiu but he adjourned the matter to be heard by another Judge on Monday, 13 July 2020.

The Chief Justice pointed to “a potential conflict of interest” in relation to Rev. Netisoni Gata.

“He has written to the court about the counselling services that he has provided to the defendant and some of what he says is material so I need to disclose that conflict. If there is an issue with that, you need to let me know so we can get another judge to do the sentencing,” Chief Justice Satiu said.

“I think it’s appropriate only because I acted for Reverend Netisoni for some time so this is a very important circumstance and it needs to be heard and treated as fairly as we possibly can.”

The counsel for Liona, Mauga Precious Chang, agreed with the Court and said, given the circumstances, it was probably best to have another judge pass sentencing. Before the matter was adjourned to another Judge, Mauga asked the Court to address a preliminary matter of bail variation.

Liona wants to be able to have contact with his children and to go back to Lalomanu and get his children.

The pulenuu (or mayors) of the village had provided a character reference for Liona and Mauga explained that the defendant does not intend to live in Lalomanu but he only wishes to go to get access to his children. He is seeking for his children to return to school and he wants to pick them up and drop them off, the Court was told.

The defendant is currently living with his family.

The prosecutor is lawyer, Fuifui Ioane, of the Attorney General's Office. The Chief Justice advised Liona to abide by all his bail conditions on Monday.

Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday 21 July 2020. 


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