Court refers father after he burnt home, family car

A father of three who burnt down his house and family car has been referred to the Alcohol and Drugs Court programme, as he was under the influence of alcohol when he allegedly offended.

Sola Leitupo, 43, from Samamea Fagaloa was infuriated over several incidents that occurred in June this year, which led to him burning his house and family car at the village. 

He appeared before Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke on Wednesday for sentencing. 

According to the police summary of facts, the defendant was intoxicated on June 25, 2019 at around 8.00pm when he got angry with his neighbour for cutting down trees without his consent. 

He then instructed his son to get his unregistered 12 gauge rifle and went to his neighbour, where he was stopped by a matai who disarmed him.

Leitupo then returned home angry and threatened his wife, telling her that she should have been cut off and need to be shot. 

On the following day when his wife returned from bingo, he was angry that she did not do what he asked her to do and again threatened her, though this time to have her teeth removed. 

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His 40-year-old wife then fled and sought help from a neighbour.  

The defendant was so angry that he got kerosene and lit up the carport of the house, which later spread and burnt down the house and the family car parked nearby. 

Police arrived at the scene and arrested the defendant and charged him. 

Leitupo is a kava farmer and has been the sole provider for his family. 

Since being remanded in custody, his three children aged nine, 13 and 16 have left school. 

His wife had asked the Court for leniency, and that her children are no longer in school because she cannot afford the fees, while adding that her family has reconciled with the village.

Prosecution had sought a four years and three months imprisonment for Leitupo’s offending. 

However, Justice Leiataualesa said he cannot sentence the defendant as he was eligible to be referred to the Alcohol and Drugs Court but this was not done. 

The matter was then adjourned until August 29 for mention with the father remanded in custody.  

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