Man jailed for machete attack

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 23 July 2020, 4:00PM

A man who attacked another man with a machete, accusing him of swearing at his children, has been jailed by the Supreme Court.

The sentence for Filioalii Talia Te’o was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren, on Wednesday. 

The defendant had pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily injury with intent; being armed with a dangerous weapon; burglary and throwing stones. 

According to the summary of facts, on 29 November 2019 at around 10am, the accused entered the victim’s house armed with a machete. 

“After asking him what swear words he uttered to his children, the accused struck the victim on the left side of his head with the machete," the Court was told. 

“When the victim replied that he did not swear at the accused’s children, the accused again hit him and struck his left hand. 

“After that he hit the victim again on the left shoulder. The victim tried to escape and the accused threw him with a rock which hit his right elbow.” 

The defendant, a farmer, is a father of four and is 49 years old. 

Justice Tafaoimalo noted the victim is 46 years old. 

“He says he the attack was unexpected and as a result he suffered injuries to his ear, left wrist, left eye, left arm and right shoulder," Justice Tafaoimalo said.

"He says that he spent a month travelling to and from the hospital for his bandaging and treatment. This cost him close to $200. 

The victim says that the accused has been to apologise, he has accepted the apology and forgives the accused wholeheartedly.” 

Justice Tafaoimalo noted it is aggravating that the offence involved the use of a machete by the accused, and the attack was unexpected. 

“There were 3 blows to the victim; the accused went into the home of the victim without permission and with the intent to assault the victim and there was premeditation in going armed to the victim’s home. 

“The victim sustained injuries, although minor; and that the accused also used a rock to throw at the victim as the victim was trying to run away to seek help. The rock hit his right elbow.”

The penalty paid to the village and the defendant’s banishment was taken into account by the court as a mitigating factor, as well as the apology rendered to the victim. 

Prosecution has recommended a starting point of six years imprisonment. Defence Counsel has recommended a starting point of 3-4 years.

Justice Tafaoimalo acknowledged a strong call for deterrence in this case. “Deterring not only the accused but also like-minded people from similar offending, using machetes to injure people and the extensive availability of machetes in our society has unfortunately resulted in cases like this one, where machetes have been used to attack people. 

“This is unacceptable and this type of offending must attract a severe penalty. A severe penalty will be a message to the community to think twice before using machetes to attack others.” 

The defendant was sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment.


By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 23 July 2020, 4:00PM

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