Liliko Asini has been convicted of arson, threatening words and insulting words

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Liliko Asini has been convicted of arson, threatening words and insulting words. 

The judgement was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren following a bench trial, in relation to the burning of a family home at Afulilo Aleipata. 

The incident occurred on 3 June 2022. According to the judgement the co-defendant Ikenasio Viliamu has been sentenced for arson and it is undisputed therefore that he set fire to the house in question. 

“The main issue, in this case, is whether the accused was a party to this offending, that is, whether he incited Ikenasio to set fire to the house. 

A further issue is whether the accused threatened and said insulting words to the victim. Witnesses that live across from the residence that was set on fire, said they saw a vehicle occupied by three people, including Ikenasio the co-defendant and inside the car were cans of petrol. 

Ikenasio the third witness confirmed that Asini incited the fire incident. Ikenasio admits that he was angry, that he picked up the container of petrol, but says he went three times to burn the house but could not do it. He says he finally did it when the accused threatened him to burn the house or he will cut Ikenasio’s neck with his knife. 

However, when the accused gave evidence, he said the testimony by his co-defendant was shocking and blamed Ikenasio as the one behind burning down the house. 

Justice Tafaoimalo says after hearing the evidence and observing the main witnesses’, their testimony was credible and that evidence is consistent and clear in that the accused incited Ikenasio to go burn the house. 

Ikenasio who is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment for arson has nothing to gain in giving his evidence which implicates the accused. 

Justice Tafaoimalo said it is beyond reasonable doubt that Prosecution has proved the charges of arson, threatening words and insulting words. Sentencing for Asini has been scheduled on  28 February 2023 at 12.30 pm for sentence.  A pre-sentence report is ordered.