Arson sentence suspended to give convicted man chance to overcome drink problems

    Toloi ‘e he ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi’ Owen Paulsen ‘a e tautea kakato ‘o e tangata tū fale ko Sione Fakalelei Manu ‘a ia ne tu’utu’uni ke ne ngāue pōpula ‘i he māhina ‘e 18. Kae makatu’unga ‘eni ‘i he pau ke ne ngāue ki he komiunitii’ ‘i he houa ‘e 80. Kuo tu’utu’uni ke fakakakato foki ‘e Manu ha koosi ki hono mapukepuke ‘ene ‘ita’ pehē ki ha koosi he faito’o konatapu’ mo hono ngāue kovi’aki ‘a e ‘olokaholo’. Kuopau ke ne lava’i lelei ‘a e ngaahi koosi ko ‘eni ka ‘ikai te ne ngāue’i leva ‘a hono tautea ngāue pōpula’. Ko e tautea ‘eni ki he’ene konā ‘o tutu honau fale’ ‘o ‘auha. Ne ‘ikai ha taha ‘e vela he mofia’ ni.

    The Supreme Court has suspended the whole sentence of a man convicted of arson.

    Sione Fakalelei Manu appeared before Lord Chief Justice Paulsen, who sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

    However, the judge suspended the sentence on condition that he undertake 80 hours community service as ordered.

    Manu was ordered to undergo and successfully complete an anger management course and a course on drugs and alcohol abuse.

    He was warned that if he failed  to comply with any of these conditions during his suspension he could be required to serve out his sentence.

    In his report on the case, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said Manu picked up his wife from the hospital, intending to return to their home at Fatai.

    He was drunk and they got into an argument. He then drove the car at high speed, causing. his wife to be afraid and exit the car as soon as she could.

    She took refuge in a house and refused  Manu’s demands that she get back into the car.

    He returned to their home at Fatai where he consumed more alcohol.

    He lit a match and threw  it into a pile of clothes in the bedroom and then locked up the house and left to go to a nearby shop.

    When he returned the house was fully ablaze. He did nothing to stop the fire and left again. He said nothing could have been done to save the house, which was completely destroyed.

    The judge said the house and its contents were worth TP$5000. The house was owned by the wife’s family.

    When arrested, Manu admitted the offence and pleaded guilty.

    Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said he was suspending Manu’s sentence to give him a chance to rehabilitate himself.

    A significant contributing factor in all of Manu’s prior offending was the consumption of alcohol and Manu had shown he was unable to control his rage when he was drunk.

    “I think he should be given assistance to deal with these issues in the expectation that in successfully doing so he is unlikely to reoffend,” the judge said.

    However, there should be some punitive aspect to his sentence.

    The main points

    • The Supreme Court has suspended the whole sentence of man convicted of arson.
    • Sione Fakalelei Manu appeared before Lord Chief Justice Paulsen who sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
    • However, the judge suspended the sentence on condition that he undertake 80 hours community service.

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