A YOUNG man who attacked a couple outside of the Heritage Park (HP) Hotel last year had been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, Tuesday.
Daniel Saomatangi, 21, was sentenced following his conviction after a trial on one count of grievous harm and one count of common assault.
Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga in his sentencing remarks said the sentence must send a clear message to the accused and the general public that committing grievous harm injury or any serious violent crimes on other persons will not be tolerated by the court.
“There is no excuse or exception for that even if you drink alcohol,” Aulanga said.
“Therefore, it is important nowadays, people must learn to behave responsibly and not to take the law into their own hands as a means of resolving their anger when under the influence of alcohol,” he added.
He further added that people must also learn to think first and resolve their grudges or anger in lawful and appropriate ways because not doing so, will lead to committing a crime like the present case.
Aulanga also said that the accused, as the one who committed the crime, is not the only person that becomes the centre of focus when it comes to sentencing.
“The interest of the victims of crime must be equally considered as well and should not be let down by the court.
“The two victims of this case expect justice from the court and they must have a voice when it comes to sentencing,
“The courts of this country must be unwavering and stand against serious violent offences and should not evade their duties when it comes to the need for deterrence.”
The incident happened after 2 am on 18 January 2020 outside the Heritage Park (HP) Hotel.
The accused came out of Club HP at the hotel and confronted the first victim who was sitting inside his Hilux at the hotel car park area.
He was under the influence of alcohol since he had consumed seven cans of SB beer inside the club.
He accused the first victim that his vehicle almost hit him and that was when the first victim’s wife intervened and they started to argue.
The court had heard that during the course of the argument Saomatangi punched the right side head of his second victim.
After the punch, the first victim came out of the vehicle and started to fight.
It was after they were separated and the fight had already stopped that Saomatangi ran after the first victim and punched his right eye.
Aulanga said it was a vicious and heavy punch, rendering the first victim unconscious.
His face was covered in blood and as a result, he was transported to the National Referral Hospital for medical treatment.
As a result of the punch, the first victim sustained a macula hole to his right eye.
The doctor who reviewed his eye stated that as a result of the macula injury, the first victim now has a permanent visual loss to his eye, including the inability to look up and out of his right eye.
Aulanga imposed two and a half years for the grievous harm charge while four months was imposed for the common assault charge.
He then ordered both sentence to run concurrently which means only two and a half years will be served by the accused.
The time Saomatangi spent in custody was also taken into account.
Rodney Manebosa of the Public Solicitor’s Office represented Saomatangi while Public Prosecutors Francesca Luza and Myrella Cleven appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BONGIDANI