A MAN who hit his pregnant wife with a piece of timber last year whilst under the influence of liquor has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
David Maehau was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of domestic violence, a charge under the Family Protection Act, this week in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a term of three years imprisonment or a fine of up to $30,000.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo when sentencing Maehau said the moment he used a timber to assault his wife, it means he has turned the timber into a weapon for the purpose of assaulting her.
“This is serious and is an aggravating feature in your commission of the offence,” Ms Garo told Maehau.
“The complainant is your wife and at the time you assaulted her she is six months pregnant with your child.
“Your act of assaulting your wife when she is six months pregnant is serious in that you both put your wife and unborn child at real risk,” Garo added.
Maehau’s lawyer had asked the court to suspend any term of imprisonment imposed on him on which the prosecution also agreed to.
Garo however, was of the view that the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable.
“The aggravating features present to militate against a reduction in sentence far outweigh the mitigating factors.
“The only issue to be determined is how long the term of imprisonment should be.”
Garo then imposed a starting point of 18 months imprisonment but later reduced it to 12 months after considering the mitigating factors in Maehau’s case.
“Taking into account that mitigating factors present in your favour and the interest of giving some hope and light to your marriage at the end of the tunnel, it is my view that a punitive but short, sharp and shocking sentence should be imposed.”
The incident occurred on 4 November 2018 at about 11 pm.
The accused was drinking alcohol with friends when his wife approached him to ask him to follow her home.
It was heard that on the way home, the accused lay on the road and fell asleep because he was too drunk.
It was when his wife tried to wake him up when he suddenly picked up a piece of timber and struck her with it.
When the wife tried to protect her unborn baby by pending down, the accused got the piece of timber and hit her thighs with it.
The next day, Maehau’s wife was still lying down because she felt pain in her thighs when the accused saw her and asked her why she did not go to work.
His wife told him it was because of the pain in her thighs and being not happy with her husband she went outside and talked to some women residing in the same area.
Maehau called his wife back to the house, accused her and slapped her in the face.
The accused had since reconciled with his wife of which the court gave him credit for this.
The court also took into account that he entered an early guilty plea and that he is a first time offender.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Nid Satjipanon represented Maehau while Police Prosecutor Moffat Tei appeared for the crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN