Nuku'alofa Central Police station. Photo/Kalino Lātū

Pouono ‘Aisake has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for grievous bodily harm.

The imprisonment has been backdated to March 15.

On August 23, 2018, at about 7pm ‘Aisake’s wife was at her parents’  house in Hofoa when her partner visited.  ‘Aisake arrived and was asked   to leave, but he did not.

He went into the house and was again asked  to leave,  this time by his mother-in-law. This time he left, but returned with a machete. The Police were called and Snr Police Constable Tafokitau ‘Ahokava and another officer arrived.

‘Aisake said he did not know the Police had arrived, but hid inside the back room while holding the machete.

When Snr Constable Tafokitau  opened the door to the back room  ‘Aisake struck him on the head with the machete causing a grievous injury.

When ‘Aisake  was arrested and interviewed he pleaded guilty.

His childhood was marked by his father’s alcoholism and violence and he dropped out of primary school. ‘Aisake has a criminal record, including a  previous  conviction  for armed  robbery  involving  the  use  of a firearm, and a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Mr ‘Aisake said he was angry at  his  wife and mother-in-law for asking him to leave and that he had brought the machete from  his home  for his personal protection  from  his  wife’s  brother  with whom he had fought before.

Snr Constable Tafokitau  underwent surgery after the attack.

“While it appears that the victim has recovered physically, the same cannot be said for his mental and his emotional states,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

“He has suffered memory loss and is forgetful at work. He has become  cautious, angry at home, is easily startled and has interrupted sleep. He can no longer participate in activities that may risk further injury such as touch rugby.

“Mr ‘Aisake did not visit the victim in  hospital and apologised  to him only the   day before he was arraigned and not in the traditional Tongan manner.”

The judge said the Supreme Court had signalled that it would deal harshly with perpetrators of machete attacks.

He quoted Mr Justice Cato who said: “The  use of  a  machete which  is  a  potentially  lethal  weapon  as  an instrument  of violence must be denounced.”

“The offending was serious involving  a surprise attack,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

“It was an act of extreme, pre-meditated violence using  a  machete to the head of the victim who was not only entirely vulnerable, but  had done nothing  to provoke  Mr ‘Aisake.”

The judge said he would not suspend any part of ‘Aiseke’s sentence because he had previously had a suspended sentence and still re-offended.

He therefore imposed a sentence of six years.

The main points

  • Pouono ‘Aisake has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for grievous bodily harm.
  • The judge said he would not suspend any part of ‘Aiseke’s sentence because he had previously had a suspended sentence and still re-offended.

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