By Deidre Tautua – Fanene
Justice Mata Tuatagaloa handed down this week a 4 and a half year prison sentence to a male who killed another male with one punch at Puipa’a village last December 2018.
The 27 year old Niuinitone Failauga was found guilty of manslaughter by a panel of assessors who did not agree that he was acting in self-defense.
Justice Tuatagaloa ruled that if the court assessors had accepted the claim of self defence by the defence lawyer, Failauga would walk free.
“Your client would have been acquitted because that's what self defense is all about," Justice Tuatagaloa ruled.
Police investigations confirmed the fatal event on the 21st of December last year when Failauga punched the deceased on the head once at Puipa’a, that killed him.
The court also heard that the deceased is Failauga's relative and they were living together in the same house.
A pathologist report established the cause of death from a "blunt force head injury consistent with multiple contacts, in a pattern and distribution consistent with an assault.”
Justice Tuatagaloa in her ruling admitted that the defendant did not use any weapon, as in other similar incidents that come before the court where a knife or other things were involved.
"It was a punch that resulted in the death of your relative, and given your strength as a young fella using your hand to punch the deceased tells us that your hand is the weapon that caused the death of your relative.”
Justice Tuatagaloa used 8 years as a starting point in determining prison punishment for the defendant.
She deducted 2 years because of Failauga's young age, 1 year as a first offender and 6 months for being provoked by the deceased.
He will serve out his prison sentence of 4 and a half years at the Tanumalala Prison.