Man jailed over machete incident in Tafatafa


The man charged with manslaughter and assault in a machete incident involving three men in Tafatafa, Falealili on a Sunday last March has been sentenced to six years in jail.

Sentencing, in this case, was handed down recently by Supreme Court Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.

Nu’uuli Lopesi 51 of Tafatafa faces charges of manslaughter, two counts of causing grievous bodily harm and armed with a dangerous weapon.

The defendant initially denied all his charges however when the hearing was to commence, the prosecution filed an amended charging document and the defendant pleaded guilty to all 4 charges.

According to the amended summary the deceased and the other two victims drove with friends from Lotofaga to Tafatafa beach where they spent the morning and consumed a large bottle of niu vodka mixed with water.

However, around 3pm, they left the beach and headed towards the main road when their vehicle was stoned; the deceased and victims got out of the vehicle and ran towards the bush area where they suspected the rocks were thrown from.

They called out the accused who then got upset went home and returned with a machete and struck the deceased and the two victims who suffered severe cut wounds.

According to Dr Wesley Mariner’s report to the coroner, the deceased had a large gaping wound to his neck and the cause of death was hypovolemic shock secondary to a cut of the major vessels to the neck. All three victims were in their 20’s.

Justice Roma accepted that there was a degree of provocation on the part of the victims. They had been making noise and swearing openly on a Sunday afternoon. However, the court also took into account that the defendant fetched a machete.

The court also factored in the ifoga, a traditional apology that included $10,000 for the village of Lotofaga and the usual presentation of tofa and lafo which is estimated to be at least worth $15,000 in total.

Separate from those sums but also presented during the ifoga were $10,000 for the deceased’s funeral expenses (lauava).

On the one charge of manslaughter, the defendant is convicted and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. On the two charges of causing grievous bodily harm, he is convicted of both and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on each charge.

On the one charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon, the defendant is convicted and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment. All sentences are to be served concurrently meaning he will serve only 6 years imprisonment.