Man jailed two years over wife's death
A man who killed his 50-year-old wife with a single slap that caused her to fall and die has been jailed for two years.
The sentencing of Sosene Liona Lu’itau, of Lalomanu, was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma.
The accused was scheduled to be sentenced in July, however new evidence surfaced that Lu’itau was previously convicted of perpetrating violence against his wife.
The defendant was convicted of assault against his wife in 2017 and sentenced to six months’ community service by the District Court.
Lu’itau's lawyer, Mauga Precious Chang, at the time of the first sentencing hearing informed the Court the incident was an accident.
"It was definitely not something that was anticipated," she said.
“As [is] clear from the summary of facts, It was a slap, one slap in which the wife of my client fell down […i] t’s one of those incidents which clearly was not intended and the death was clearly an accident as a result of the assault.”
She said her client is not making excuses and has taken responsibility for his actions.
The defendant was also, the Court was told, in a stressful situation in the aftermath of having found himself the only breadwinner in the family.
“And [he is feeling] constant anger coming home because of working day and night at the plantation as well as going fishing just to put food on the table for his children,” said Mauga.
“His children have helped him throughout this whole incident and he is truly remorseful about what happened. He wants the opportunity to make it up to his children.
“He is someone who has looked after his children and wants to make sure his children [to] have a better life than he has had.”
Lu’itau’s children provided the Court with character reference letters for their father.
Fepulea’i sentenced Lu’itau to two years in jail and ordered that time already served will be deducted from the sentence.