Hu'atolitoli prison

The Supreme Court has sentenced a man to just over two years’ imprisonment after he fractured his wife’s leg with an iron bar.

Hon. Justice Cato sentenced  Sami Likiliki Fisilau to four years in prison, but suspended the final 21 months.

Fisilau assaulted his wife on or about October 8, 2017.

Judge Cato said the prisoner’s relationship with his wife was breaking up. She had already left him, but returned to Vaini with her boyfriend. She went to the family home where the accused was looking after their three children.

After phoning her boyfriend she told her husband she wanted to take the two older children to her sister’s house.

There was some talk about the victim wanting to continue drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. The prisoner agreed to this. An argument broke out and Fisilau began trying to punch his wife.

The two girls were crying and the prisoner then calmed  down.

The prisoner then asked the victim to go into another room where they could talk.  The prisoner told the children to go outside and locked the door. He told the victim to sit on the  bed and she began to apologise, scared that he might do something to her.

The prisoner grabbed an iron bar. He raisedit at the victim’s head. She held up her youngest daughter to  block him. She attacked  the prisoner and the iron bar fell down.

She tried to get the iron bar, but the prisoner inserted his fingers into her eye. She felt a lot of pain and bit his han,d but he kept on trying to insert his fingers into her eyes.

The victim held onto her daughter and the prisoner hit her left leg with the iron rod. She fell to the floor and felt a lot of pain in her leg. She then saw that her leg was bleeding.

People who were passing by heard the commotion and intervened. An ambulance  was called and the victim was taken to hospital. The prisoner admitted his offending to the police. The Doctor found there was an open fracture to the proximal tibia and she had  periorbital swelling with conjunctiva! redness. She was in hospital for several days.

Judge Cato described the prisoner’s violence as “apparently uncharacteristic.”

“However, he had no excuse for taking an iron rod to the victim or in grabbing her eyes, and exacting his own form of retribution,” the judge said.

Judge Cato said protecting  women from domestic violence, condemning and deterring violence were the main principles involved in sentencing.

“The message communicated by this Court is that domestic issues are no justification or excuse for violence and domestic abuse will be met with firm penalties,” the judge said.

“The prisoner is aged 52, is a first offender and having read the probation report, I formed the view he was struggling to keep his marriage together and look after this children in what must have been a difficult period.

“He works in a plantation. He earned a living from this kind of work.

“He has been co-operative with the police and has pleaded guilty. He expresses regret for his actions.

“I  think it unlikely that he will reoffend now that his wife is no longer living with him. He is a first offender, and, as a man now in his fifties,  that is an important factor to consider.”

Judge Cato asked that his judgement be placed before the Solicitor-General for him to urgently confirm that satisfactory arrangements had been made for the support of the children and their welfare until their father was released from prison.

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has sentenced a man to just over two years’ imprisonment after he fractured his wife’s leg with an iron bar.
  • Justice Cato sentenced Sami Likiliki Fisilau to four years in prison, but suspended the final 21 months.
  • Fisilau assaulted his wife on or about October 8, 2017.

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