Court continues to clamp down on the impact of Rover “jet fuel”


The Supreme Court continues to raise concerns over impact of the Rover vodka labelling it as a “jet fuel” in the community. 

This case involves Suti Leato Fau a 24-year-old man from Faleula who pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm. 

Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson in his recent judgement and sentence indicated the defendant assaulted a man in his 50’s in an incident in Faleula last year August, concerning a Rover vodka drinking session. 

Justice Nelson said this is another case of victims “Rover jet fuel” but the consequences of the assault are not severe.

The Police report indicated the victim was engaged in a drinking session with two other men including the defendant and during their party, the defendant became angry at the victim for not passing him the drinking cup.

The defendant punched the victim in the mouth causing the victim to fall unconscious to the ground and he was taken home.

However, when the victim woke up, he got into a taxi with his son and went back to the defendant’s house.

“Not a clever thing to do and the inevitable occurred,” said Justice Nelson.

The men fought and the victim fell, which caused a laceration to the right front of his scalp. He was taken to the hospital and after treatment, he was released to go home, with oral antibiotics and painkillers but was re-admitted some 24 hours later complaining of bleeding from the nose and a “decreased level of consciousness”.

The Court noted both the victim and the defendant both realised from this matter that alcohol is not for them.

“I am happy to read and hear all this and the defendant’s confirmation today that he no longer drinks alcohol. “As I often tell defendants in this room if he cannot drink and act responsibly better not drink at all,” stated Justice Nelson.

The defendant gets significant credit for his apology and support of the victim and for his efforts to rehabilitate himself.

“He also has a good pre-sentence report submitted by the Probation Service, he is a first offender and the report confirms he has undergone the six-week Drug and Alcohol Programme of the Salvation Army.”

The Salvation Army’s report says the defendant expressed shame for his actions and shared that it has caused his parents significant distress and made him realise that alcohol is not good for him.

“His family does not consume alcohol and he stated his father is supporting him to abstain which he stated he is currently achieving.

“The Report notes Suti has predictive factors in his life, he attends church regularly, he is involved in the youth group and church activities, he has family responsibilities and has good support from his family.

“Further that Fau appeared genuine in his presentation wanting to make positive lifestyle changes and remove alcohol from his life. He was grateful to be allowed to attend the treatment program which he stated would help him with making these changes.”

Justice Nelson spared Fau from going to prison and imposed a non-custodial penalty.

“I give you a very clear and firm warning. That is for today and this matter only. If you are foolish enough to re-offend, whether alcohol is involved or not you are going to go for a nice MIQ at Tanumalala,” said Justice Nelson. 

The defendant was ordered to serve six months of supervision under the Probation Service with two special conditions to conduct 100 hours of Community Service and refrain from the consumption of any form of alcohol including homebrew.