Supreme Court reduces sentence for grievous bodily harm after plea

The Supreme Court has reduced a prisoners’ sentence after hearing a claim for mitigation from his counsel.

Moale Vi  had pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm after hitting Penisimani Fifita on the head with an iron bar and fracturing his skull.

The incident took place at the fire station in Longolongo on December 22, 2016.

Mr Justice Cato said that Vi’s counsel had provided information that indicated that Vi had been involved in a conflict with his fellow fire officers are retraining to the station drunk.

During the struggle to restrain him Fifita  kicked Vi repeatedly in the head.

Some time after the prisoner was taken away by police, he returned to the station and struck Fifita with an iron bar while he slept.

“I  conclude  that  the  prisoner  was  drunk  and  unruly at the station,” the judge said.

“I accept and  it  was  confirmed  by  Officer Paulo  Kolo in  his evidence that this  was out  of character  for  him.  I find that, although the officers were entitled to take reasonable  steps to restrain  and  subdue  the  prisoner  who  had  plainly become a nuisance and prevent  any  violence,  Officer  Fifita  did  use excessive force when kicking him several times to the head  area.”

The judge said that he considered the matter as a mitigating factor in sentencing the prisoner, although not a significant one.

He therefore reduced the starting pint of the sentence by six months.

In further mitigation, he accepted that Vi had pleaded guilty at  an early stage, had been co-operative, probably  was remorseful, and had lost a job of which he was very fond.

He therefore reduced his sentence further to three years, with the last 12 months suspended on condition that he not commit any offence punishable by imprisonment and undertake courses in drug and alcohol abuse and anger management with the Salvation Army.

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