THE court has sentenced a man who assaulted his sister in-law and then attacked his brother with a knife last year in Guadalcanal to a total of one year, six months imprisonment, yesterday.
Jerrial Manehahia pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful wounding and one count of common assault.
The court heard on 22 August 2014, Manehahia asked his sister in-law Nelly about something and she answered Manehahia but he did not hear her.
Manehahia got angry and swore at her.
He also kicked her and she fell on to the ground.
Nelly was pregnant at that time.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi told Manehahia that as a male member in their family, he was supposed to protect his sister in-law from any harm and give her respect.
“You have breached that trust by assaulting her when she was in a very vulnerable state,” Ms Taeburi told the accused.
“A sentence imposed here must also send a message to our society that it is wrong for men to assault their women.
“Women are weaker thus they need to be loved, cared for and protected by the male members in the family,” Ms Taeburi said.
She told Manehahia that his actions towards Nelly were unprovoked.
In relation to the assault on his brother, the court heard Manehahia threw a knife at him and the knife landed and got stuck on his back above his right shoulder.
This was after his brother Tony Harihiru told him he was being disrespectful for what he did to his wife.
Tony was taken to Marau Health Centre but the nurse there was unable to remove the half a metre bush knife.
The knife was stuck on his back until the next day when a chartered flight was arranged to transport him to Honiara.
The knife was removed at the National Referral Hospital.
Ms Taeburi said that strangely, no medical report was produced from either the clinic at neither Marau nor the National Referral Hospital.
“I can only imagine the suffering and the pain that Harihiru experienced the whole night with the bush knife in his back.
“I cannot comment on the extent of the injury inflicted because there was no medical evidence placed before me.
“I do not know if this is a failure by police to get the medical evidence or is a failure on the part of the nurses and doctors who attended to the victim.
“Either way, it is a major failure and a flaw in the evidence that is placed before the court.
“It only goes to show the lack of competency on the part of the people responsible in this case.”
After considering the aggravating features and the mitigating factors in this case, the court imposed one year and four months imprisonment for the unlawful wounding and two months imprisonment for the common assault charge.
Ms Taeburi ordered that both sentences be served consecutively and back dated to 30 August 2014, when Manehahia was first remanded in custody.
Manehahia was told he has the right to appeal his case within 14 days if he is not happy with the sentence.
The accused was represented by George Gray of Public Solicitor’s Office while Public Prosecutor Willy Vaiyu appeared for the State.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN