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Judge Jails Man, 35, For Assaulting Wife

Judge Jails Man, 35, For Assaulting Wife
August 16
11:00 2018

A High Court judge has de­scribed assault on women as one of the worst forms of physical assault.

Justice Paul Madigan made his comment while sentencing a 35-year-old man at the High Court in Labasa, yesterday.

The accused pleaded guilty to two counts of an act intended to cause grievous harm.

Justice Madigan said such of­fences undoubtedly cause adverse and psychosocial trauma to the life of the victim.

“There was little or no provoca­tion and to kick and punch some­one in the head is very dangerous indeed,” he said.

“The attacks to the body were so serious that the wife lost con­sciousness and was admitted to hospital.

“Despite the favourable report and psychologist’s recommenda­tion for non-custodial sentence, the Fijian community would ex­pect that savage physical abuse occasioned to a spouse in the fam­ily house should attract a term of imprisonment.

“This court endorses that senti­ment and would add that in cases of intent to harm in a domestic violence context should be sen­tenced at the higher level of the tariff, if not more in very serious cases,” he said.

Particulars of the case

The court heard that on March 13, the accused entered a plea of guilty to two counts of act intend­ed to cause grievous harm, contra­ry to section 255 (a) of the Crime Act 2009.

By that plea, the accused admit­ted that once at the end of Janu­ary 2018 and again on February 3, he acted to cause harm to his wife, unlawfully wounding her.

The accused and the victim are husband and wife. At the end of January 2018, the accused beat his wife with an electrical cord and on February 3, he further assaulted her by punching and kicking her mouth and kicking her multiple times in the ribs, causing her to lose consciousness.

She was examined at Korovesi Health Centre and found to have cuts, bruises and tenderness over the scalp, back, lips and thighs.

On being questioned by the Po­lice under caution, the accused admitted these assaults.

Sentencing remarks

While taking into account his mitigation, a report from the Cor­rection Services Psychologist was placed before the court providing details and outcomes of counsel­ling sessions that the accused had attended while in remand.

During those sessions, as report­ed by the psychologist, the accused came to appreciate the issues to be dealt with in his personal be­haviour, including anger manage­ment, alcohol and soft drug abuse, and aggression to wield power.

It was reported that the accused was responding well to structured counselling and the psychologist’s opinion that he was genuinely re­morseful and had concrete plans to improve himself in order that he could care for his four sons.

For his first count, the accused will serve a term of 18 months’ imprisonment and in his second count he will serve 12 months’ im­prisonment.

With a final Domestic Violence Restraining Order with the usual non molestation condition is im­posed. This order will remain in place until further order from the High Court.

Justice Madigan also ordered that the accused continue with in-house Correctional Services counselling for as much time the psychologist deems it necessary.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

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