Father and sons convicted in machete attack case; judge cites police failure to lay ‘attempted murder’ charges

A father and his two sons were convicted of common assault after a 24-year-old man was assaulted and struck with a machete.

The father was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm while his sons were acquitted of that same charge.

And in handing down his decision, Justice Cooper made searing comment about the situation.

“Firstly, from the foregoing it will be entirely obvious to anyone that all defendants should have been charged with attempted murder”, Mr Cooper said.

“No explanation has been offered as to why this was not so.

“Secondly, the medical evidence plainly needed expanding upon, rather than simply a one-page note and a photo. Ultimately it did not stop and clear finding by the Court, but it was crying out for expert evidence as to how this was caused, from what height and angle; when spelt out may have concentrated the defendant’s minds on arraignment.

Both these points should have been picked up in any proper case review”.

Kali Malupo, 57, was  guilty of count of grievous bodily harm after he struck Filihia Lī on his head using a machete at Tonga’s Manuka village.

His two sons, Sione and Siaosi Malupō were convicted of common assault for punching Lī.

The court was told the incident occurred outside Lii’s father’s house on October 31, 2022, in Manuka.

Li was drunk before he had a confrontation with  Kali.

At one stage Li was standing in the road while Kali was in his vehicle.

Kali had moved his vehicle towards Li before Li had punched and smashed a front head light.

Kali then produced a machete and struck  Li with it causing the injury. Li was unarmed and there was no suggestion he ever had a weapon or any person thought he may have had one.

At another stage, according to court document,  Kali approached  Li before he ordered Sione and Siaosi  to step aside so he could strike him.

As they stepped aside they also shouted words of encouragement to their father to attack Li.

 “Beat him until he shits himself’.  

Li was injured by the third strike of the machete despite his father tackling Kali. Sione and Siaosi then continued to punch Li, as he kept retreating all the way back to his fale even as he was trying to get in the door to be cared for.

“I am also quite sure they continued to attack Filihai Li after he was grievously injured. This is strong evidence of their state of mind from the start; that they were determined upon violently dealing with Filihai Li for violence’s sake and did so”, Mr Cooper said.

The defence argued that Siaosi was not at the scene at this time and arrived only as Li was being led into his father’s fale to be cared for.

It said Siaosi never had any physical interaction with Li nor threatened him.

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