Sio Vaka, 20, is a free man after Supreme Court found that he acted in self-defence and not out of revenge.

He was found not guilty on June 13 for stabbing death of 33-year-old Lipine Fakatene, also from Fua’amotu.

Vaka was repeatedly assaulted on January 17 and after an earlier incident he went to his home and returned with a sharp kitchen knife.  Vaka was injured in that assault, the court was told.

The  worst being that Vaka had been hit by a rock which caused him sufficient discomfort.

He admitted in his record of interview, he was plainly so angry  alter the assault.

He had tried with his mother who had been informed of his injury in early evening to get assistance to travel to the hospital for treatment.

While they were looking for a transport Lipine and his young brother Sione approached them and then Lipine punched the accused with sufficient force to cause him to stagger back, the judgement said.

“I accept that Lipine  was a strongly built man and bigger than Sione who also appeared to be robust”, Mr. Paulsen said.

“The accused by comparison  was  slightly  built, and  rather  thin. I also accept that the mother Talafaiva intervened, attempted  to stand between Lipine and her son and tried to hold Lipine back but was unable to do so.

“I accept the evidence of Sione who was present nearby that he fronted up to the accused  and  was prepared  to fight but that he did not become further involved because the accused pulled the knife on him in a stabbing movement or movements which he avoided.

“During  this assault, the accused may have attempted  to cover his head and then retaliated by stabbing the deceased with a knife twice with sufficient force to enter deep into the body  and sever an artery close to the heart.

“This caused bleeding and lung and heart complications. The deceased collapsed shortly after and died before reaching hospital”.

Mr Paulsen said: “I accept that the accused at the material time of the stabbing had acted in self-defence and not out of revenge. The accused is accordingly acquitted  of  manslaughter and discharged  from  the indictment”.

He said if the accused used the knife  to  avenge  the actions of others who had assaulted him he, likely, would  have been prosecuted had others been harmed.

Paulsen warned that the “judgement does not condone the accused’s foolish action in taking a knife from his home to use in retribution or to avenge the actions of others who had assaulted him, earlier in the day”.

The accused was represented by Sifa Tu’utafaiva while ‘Aho acted for the prosecution.

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