Man sentenced to nine months in jail for manslaughter

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A 32-year-old man from Satitoa Aleipata has been sentenced to  9 months in prison for manslaughter.

Talamua reported that Toatasi Uili of Satitoa and four other defendants responded to their female cousins’ call for help after the deceased punched her in the face.

The Court noted that the deceased intended to rape the defendant’s cousin but her scream alerted Toatasi and others who rushed to her aid and beat the deceased who died from the seriousness of the injuries.

Taotasi and four other defendants were initially charged with murder however that charge was later amended to manslaughter after Taotasi’s legal counsel argued successfully that her client was provoked.

The Court noted that the defendant’s family presented a traditional apology – Ifoga but the deceased’s family rejected the apology.

The village then banished the defendant and his young family which prompted the defendant’s extended family to perform a second Ifoga which was accepted and the village reinstated the defendant and his family.

In her ruling, Justice Tafaomalo Leilani Tuala Warren summed up the aggravating factors of the offence that there was violence involved and the defendant continued to punch the deceased who had fallen to the ground and already sustained injuries.

For the mitigating factors, she took into account the defendant’s good character as corroborated by his family, church minister and village mayor. She also considered the fact that the defendant was a first offender, was genuinely remorseful, his personal circumstances, were reliable and supportive, his productive contribution to the village and church, an early guilty plea to the charge and that the incident was provoked.

The prosecution asked for an 8-year starting point for the sentence while the defence asked for 3 years.