High school student jailed after Nuku‘alofa school brawl

A high school student has been sent to jail after he injured a student from Tonga College during a fight with students from Liahona High School.

Tavalea Tupou was convicted after causing grievous bodily harm to Wesly Vi on 16 February 2019.

Tupou, a former Tonga College student who was later “siding with Liahona boys in early 2019 to cause trouble against Tonga College boys” whilst he was attending Tonga College as a student at that time has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment commencing on June 16, but with the last 12 months of his sentence being suspended for two years upon the condition that he did not commit another offence punishable by imprisonment within the two years of suspension,  and that he was on Probation and you lived where the Probation directed.

He was also directed by Judge Laki Niu to undertake and complete satisfactorily a life skills course with the Salvation Army.

Judge Niu expressed his “greatest concern” about the prisoner saying Tupou’s head tutor said that in 2019 “you were identified to be very much involved in attacking and starting up school fights against Tonga College students around the areas of Pea and Ha’ateiho after school hours.”

The Supreme Court was told that Tupou stabbed Vi in his head, the blow penetrated his skull.

The injured student spent two weeks in hospital during which time the wound was drained and the scalp stitched together. He was then discharged and told he had to take care of his health for two years so the hole in his skull would close up.

However, a year later the injured student said he could still feel the hole in his skull . He said that he could still feel his head throbbing when he ran or exercised, and that if he rubbed the spot on his head where the hole was, he could hear it in his ears like the rubbing of a microphone with one’s finger.

The court was told that the accused would not give evidence and would not call any witness.

Counsel for the defence argued that eyewitness testimony only established that the Liahona student chose to be involved in the fighting and was injured when he collided with the accused.

He said it did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused wilfully and without lawful justification stabbed the complainant in the head with a sharp object.

The Tonga College student said he was standing with the witness and another friend under the south mango tree on Digicel Square at the north-eastern corner of Wellington Road and Taufa’ahau Road when the fight broke out on the road between Narottam store and the Chinese restaurant on Wellington Road.

He said that he saw Tonga College boys in the fight and he ran to where the vehicle he had come on was parked. As he ran between those vehicles, the accused was coming from the east side and they crashed into each other. When they parted from each other, he felt blood spurting from his head and flowing down his face. He said he fell down and another boy led him away to the market from where the police took him to hospital,

While he was at the hospital,  the accused also arrived at the hospital to treat a cut which he had sustained to his hand. He said that he told the police the accused was the one who had injured him.

The police then arrested the accused and asked him what he had done to him. He said the accused did not speak, just held up his hand above his head and moved it from the back to the front and then downwards in a stabbing manner. He said that the accused was also mumbling something unintelligible. He said that the police then took the accused away.

He said that he was still wearing the cap and that it had a hole in it where the injury to his head was. The police took the cap with them as evidence.


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