Supreme Court jails three Tupou College students over 2013 attack in Tofoa

PHOTO: The house in Tofoa that attacked by Tupou College students in 2013. The landlord Kepueli ʻIoane was an ex-student of Tupou College. 

Tonga’s Supreme Court has jailed three Tupou College students for their part in the Tofoa riot in 2013.

Three Tupou College students were sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for their involvement in the attack, which left one man in a coma and another with head injuries.

Sungalu Afuha’amango, 22, was convicted of riotous assembly, attempted arson and damaging a building.

He was sentenced to four and-a-half years’ imprisonment. The court suspended the last  18 months of his sentence.

The court was told Afuha’amango threw a gas cylinder into the house on the night of the attack.

Siosifa Sulunga, 20, and Sitivi Taliai, 20, were convicted of riotous assembly, serious housebreaking and causing grievous bodily harm.

They were sentenced to four and-a-half years’ imprisonment. The last 21 months of their sentence have been suspended.

Afuha’amango, Sulunga and Taliai were part of a mob of more than 150 Tupou College students who attacked a house in Tofoa on July 18, 2013.

The house was occupied by a Tonga High school teacher, her children and friends who were students and former students of Tonga College.

The attack left former Tonga College student Taniela Halahuni, 22, in a coma for three months.

Daniel Jr Mahe, 14, received head and other injuries during the attack and was hospitalised for several weeks.

The Crown Prosecutor charged 151 Tupou College students over the attack.

A total of 127 of them pleaded guilty at the Magistrate Court for committing minor offences.

The remaining 24 students were charged with committing serious offences and their cases were heard by the Supreme Court.

All the students who were charged entered the house when the attack took place.

Three other students were charged and convicted of riotous assembly, serious housebreaking and causing serious bodily harm. They were sentenced to two and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Their sentences were fully suspended on condition that two of them undertake 120 hours of community work, and one 90 hours.

A total of 15 students were convicted of riotous assembly and damaging a building and were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Their sentences were suspended on condition that one of them undertake 65 hours of community work and the other 14 undertake 85 hours.

Three students were convicted of simple housebreaking and were discharged without conviction on the condition that they each pay TP$200 compensation to the owner of the damaged house.

In delivering the sentences, the Supreme Court warned that crimes involving school students should never happen again in Tonga.

If it did, the sentences may be more severe.

Legal counsels Tomasi Fakahua and Petunia Tupou represented all the accused.

The main points

  • Tonga’s Supreme Court has jailed three Tupou College students for their part in the Tofoa riot in 2013.
  • They were sentenced to four and-a-half years’ imprisonment for their involvement in the incident, which left one man in a coma and another with head injuries.
  • Afuha’amango, Sulunga and Taliali were part of a mob of more than 150 Tupou College students who attacked a house in Tofoa on July 18, 2013.
  • The three students each had part of their sentences suspended,

For more information

Tupou College Attack Case Adjourned To 2014 In Tonga (PIDP)

24 accused due for sentencing  (Fiji Times/RNZI)

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