‘Inoke Silongo F. Tonga, 27, escaped death penalty Monday when Lord Chief Justice Whitten QC, convicted and sentenced him after a murder at a beach in Tatakamotonga.
The court was told Tonga admitted to police he had killed Polikalepo Kefu, 47, after they went to buy a bottle of spirits, Matangi Tonga reported.
Kefu instead drove to the beach where he allegedly made sexual advances towards Tonga, a claim the judge said were “impossible to accept” after he considered the scale of the attack and Kefu’s injuries.
“The defendant became angry and in a prolonged attack he twice attempted to strangle Poli, for about 12 minutes, before slamming him on the road, then strangled him for about 5 more minutes, before bashing him with a rock more than 30 times,” the paper said.
“The defendant then rested for a couple of minutes before dragging Poli’s body to the water line, hoping it would be washed out to sea. He admitted that he intended to beat Poli to death”.
Tonga was a meth addict, brought up in a broken family and had been sniffing benzene, the court heard.
None of the evidence brought up in court was enough for Tonga to get the toughest punishment allowed under Tonga law: the death penalty which is hanging by the neck.
The defendant’s early guilty plea and had no previous convictions and his family making an apology with customary reparations to Kefu’s family were considered by Mr Whitten before sentencing him to life imprisonment.