Taufahema sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for pouring a pot of hot cooking oil over his wife’s body causing her death

Navutoka resident Lokoua Taufahema was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on Monday January 26 for deliberate pouring a pot of hot cooking oil over his wife’s body causing her death  later in hospital on December 26, 2014.

Justice Charles Cato imposed the punishment against the 42 year old, who was convicted of man slaughter in the death of his wife, Halaevalu.

He will only spend 10 years in prison after Mr Cato reduced his sentence by three years considering his guilty plea to manslaughter, his  co­operation with the  police, his remorse and his overall  history  of relatively positive achievement.

Mr Cato also suspended the last two years of his sentence on the condition that he is not to commit any offences punishable by a term of imprisonment for two years.

The sentence came after Taufahema had pleaded guilty on arraignment to manslaughter on February 24, 2015.

He had on that date pleaded not guilty to murder and after a trial lasting 6 days in which he represented himself and gave evidence, the jury acquitted him of murder on November 23, 2015.

Prosecutors argued Taufahema had deliberately poured the oil on her wife intending to cause her bodily injury, and at the time he  knew  that the injury was likely to cause her death.

Taufahema told the court his reason for pouring the hot oil upon her wife was to scar her so she would not be attractive for other men.

Taufahema believed his wife was having an affair and he had seen text messages from her alleged lover on the day of the assault, the court document said.

He read the text  messages while he was about to take his children to the beach that morning and at the same time  he had commenced to cook some chicken using cooking oil.

According to the court judgement,  after Taufahema read the text messages he said he loved her wife  “and was jealous and wanted her scarred so as to keep her for himself”.

Mr Cato accepted what Taufahema claimed to be the motive behind the assault but he ruled that that was not a ground to justify his action.

In his ruling Mr Cato said Taufahema had enough opportunity to think twice about his action and desist from burning his wife.

“He was seen to place the hot oil down on a table outside the house before returning into the house to pour it over her”, the court judgement said.

The court found no evidence the wife was in fact having an affair “but it seems clear her feelings for the prisoner had waned over probably a lengthy period and he resented this”.

According to the ruling Taufahema’s “motivation was to scar his wife so she would be attractive to nobody else”.

Taufahema married to his wife since 2000 and they have four children.

He was a talented soccer player and he represented Tonga as a national player and coach and has been involved in various ways training and in workshops.

He became assistant coach for the national under 17 boys team for the Oceania Qualifying Tournament in 2013.

The court has made arrangement for the custody and welfare of the children.

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