‘Emilio To’a, 22, was sentenced for five years and six months after he pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa to his charge of manslaughter after the stabbing death of 24-year-old Siaosi Tupa.
The sentence is backdated to 14 December 2018 to take account of time To’a already served in prison.
Chief Justice Owen Paulsen has suspended the final two years of his sentence on the following conditions:
Mr To’a is not to commit any offences punishable by imprisonment during the period of his suspension;
He is placed on probation for the period of his suspension to live where directed by his Probation Officer;
He is not to use alcohol or drugs during the period of his suspension.
“Mr. To’a is warned that should be failed to comply with any of these conditions during his suspension he may be required to serve out the balance of his sentence.”
The court heard that on the morning of 4 March 2018 To’a, Tupu, ‘Ana Tonga – Tupa’s girlfriend and others were at a house party at Fangaloto.
At one stage Tupa and Tonga got into an argument. The prisoner intervened to protect Tonga. Tonga, during Tupa’s intervention, escaped out a back door, climbed over the fence and went to her cousin’s house.
Tupa and To’a argued and Tupa wanted to fight. Tupa grabbed a piece of timber. To’a took two knives from the kitchen hoping to scare-off Tupa.
Each told the other to put down their weapons. Tupa did put down the timber, but To’a threw down only one knife.
The two men fought and were initially trading blows. To’a punched in a right hand overarm style and the knife he was holding wounded Tupa. To’a then tackled Tupa to the ground and was on top of him and inflicted further stab wounds.
The fight ended when another man Paula Tonga pulled To’a off Tupa.
Tupa ran off and as Paula led To’a home, they passed Tupa lying on the ground. There were some women already there but To’a did not render any assistance.
Tupa had five significant stab wounds but that three of his wounds were of particular significance, according to medical evidence.
He had deep wounds to his left shoulder, his sternum and to the left side of his back. Of these, the last two penetrated the lungs causing excessive blood loss and death. Either wound would have resulted in Tupa’s death, court said.
The court also heard To’a had a good upbringing, did well at school and has no previous convictions.
He was presently enrolled at a theological college and he was deeply remorseful for what has occurred. He has made an apology to Tupa’s family in the traditional manner and was accepted.