Magistrate lets wife slasher leave Tonga after guilty plea; lawyer cites mental health issues

The US-Tongan citizen who was charged with slashing his wife’s body with a knife in Tonga last month has been given a suspended sentence.

He was allowed to leave the country with his parents.

Tonga Mohenoa Angilau pleaded guilty to causing domestic violence and actual bodily harm.

His lawyer, Siosifa Tu’utafaiva, told the court they would not counter the prosecution’s claim and asked that the hearing continue immediately.

The court heard that Angilau struck his wife Chanel’s face and head before slashing her body with a knife after she told him she had had relations with six other men.

The court was also told Angilau had been treated for a mental illness while in Tonga.

Magistrate Salesi Mafi suspended Angilau’s sentence for two years, saying that if he breached it he would be given a more severe punishment.

The court heard that the couple came to Tonga to join the Liahona-Saineha High School Alumni celebration last month.

They rented a house at Fangaloto near the Friendly Islander Hotel in Ma’ofanga.

On Monday, July 20, Angilau suspected his wife was having an affair with another man.

The court was told that while he was sleeping on Monday night he thought his wife was  talking in her sleep and that she called another man’s name.

When they woke up Angilau confronted Channel and repeatedly asked her about the man she called his name while she was sleeping.

Chanel eventually confessed and told Angilau she had an affair with his brother who was leaving in the US, the court was told.

Angilau started bashing Chanel, but she told him she had also had affairs with five other men.

By this time Angilau was furious, the court was told, and he took the knife and started slashing her body.

Police were called in and his wife was rushed to hospital. She received medical treatment before she was released. While she was being treated the Police launched a manhunt to find Angilau and arrested him the following day.

Magistrate Mafi ordered that Angilau be given back his passport and said he could  leave the country for the United States immediately after the trial on July 29.

Mafi told Angilau his suspended sentence meant he could be a free man if he spent the next two years in US. However, if he returned to Tonga during that particular time and committed a crime he would be sentenced for the crime that he has done.

Mental illness

Angilau’s lawyer Siosifa Tu’utafaiva told the court his client was mentally ill.

Tu’utafaiva said Angilau was taken to Vaiola Psychiatric unit recently and was given prescriptions for pills to be gathered from another pharmacy because the government’s pharmacy did not have it.

He said Angilau’s health improved after he took the medication.

He said they were still awaiting a psychiatric report on Angilau.

The wife

Anguilau’s wife, Chanel, a Samoan, left the country before the case was heard, but made an affidavit setting out what she said had happened before she left.

Tu’utafaiva told the court that on the day she made her affidavit he saw Angilau kneeling on the ground before her outside the court, earnestly begging her forgiveness. The court was told  his wife  kept shaking her head and walked away.

It was also been revealed in court that Angilau once hit his brother in US because he thought he was behaving suspiciously with Chanel.

Tu’utafaiva said it appeared his client knew what he was doing, but was ill when he committed the crime.

The court was told it was apparent from the way Angilau begged his wife’s forgiveness that he still loved her.

Angilau’s parents came to Tonga and the court was told they had to leave on July 28.

Tu’utafaiva told Magistrate Mafi it was important his client returned to the United States with his parents as they were the only ones who knew him well and how to treat his condition.

He asked Magistrate Mafi to consider the cost of delaying their flight and decide on the sentence.

Tu’utafaiva urged Magistrate Mafi to consider the government’s economic status and allow Angilau to leave the country as his medication was very expensive.

The prosecution was represented by Tevita Hala.

The main points

  • The US-Tongan citizen who was charged with slashing his wife’s body with a knife in Tonga last month has been given a suspended sentence and allowed to leave the country.
  • Tonga Mohenoa Angilau pleaded guilty to causing domestic violence and actual bodily harm.
  • The court heard that Angilau struck his wife Chanel’s face and head before slashing her body with a knife after she told him she had had had relations with six other men.
  • She left Tonga before the case was heard.

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