Repeat machete attacker jailed after Hihifo stabbing over motorbike noise 

A man who injured his neighbour with a machete after becoming annoyed by motorbike noise outside his house has been jailed for more than three years.

Supreme Court Judge Cooper said ‘Alaponi Vaomotou’s sentence without suspension was necessary to protect the community from his repeated offending.

Vaomotou, 46, was found guilty of causing serious bodily harm after a judge-alone trial.

The court was told that on April 2022, Vaomotou was riding his motorcycle along the roads leading to his property in Fo’ui.

A neighbour, Mr. Glen Kaumavae who was on his verandah talking with his site manager and a team of workers, was angered by the noise Vaomotou had been making with his motorbike. He felt it was too loud and that this had been a long-standing problem, a court document said.

Kaumavae went to Vaomotou after he had arrived and parked up.

A confrontation had ensued while Vaomotou’s 11-year-old daughter was with him at the time. She stood a little in front of him and consequently, Kaumavae did not see the machete Vaomotou was holding, as  the young girl was obstructing his view.  

Vaomotou swung the machete at him. Kaumavae  put up his arm to protect himself and was injured.

After visiting the hospital, Kaumavae reported the matter to the Police.

Vaomotou was arrested and taken to the police station and interviewed. He provided police with an account where he admitted the attack:

Vaomotou said: “I had told him four times to leave my property, however I heard someone saying to shoot me to death, as well as another person saying to beat me to death.

Then [Mr Kaumavae] began to walk towards me and then I grabbed the machete and began to strike and injure his hand.”

The court said Vaomotou put forward a different version of events at the trial, one of having been confronted by all the workers who had been with Kaumavae, armed with pieces of timber and a baseball bat, but that account was rejected by the Court.

The Crown called neighbours Rocky Fotu and Kauasi Lomu whose version of events corroborated the complainant’s.

In sentencing Vaomotou, Justice Cooper said: “I adopt a starting point of 3 years”.

Mr Cooper was concerned at the fact that Mr Vaomotou carried out this attack in front of his young daughter and this is his second conviction for a machete attack. Mr Cooper increased his jail terms to four years.

“For the fact he was confronted first, I reduce that by three months”, Mr Cooper said.

“That gives a sentence of 3 years and 9 months.

“I consider Mr. Vaomotou poses a real danger to the public, consequently none of his sentence will be suspended.”

Mr. Vaomotou will serve three years and nine months’ imprisonment, which will be back dated to his remand on 24 April 2023.

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