Jack Nasei of Tanna has been sent to jail for assaulting his partner and causing permanent injuries.
Mr. Nasei pleaded guilty to one count of intentional assault, causing damage on the body of another person resulting in permanent nature type injury, contrary to section 107 (c) of the Penal Code Act [CAP 135] which states: ‘No person shall commit intentional assault on the body of another person: (c) If damage of permanent nature is caused, imprisonment for 10 years.’
Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek stressed this is a serious offence as illustrated in the maximum penalty of 10 years imposed by law and It is noted that the maximum penalty for this category of offending under section 107 (c) of the Penal code was five years imprisonment and it has now been increased by double by the Parliament in the Penal Code (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2016.
The amended law came into effect on February 24, 2017 and the new dimension that he considered when he approached the sentencing of this Nasei in term of its seriousness and the makeup of the starting point sentence.
He said the sentence that he should give to the offender would reflect the intention of the law maker and the particular circumstances of his offending.
The Chief Justice said on January 19, 2019 at Mele area Mr. Nasei kicked the victim until she fell to the ground and he continued to kick her on her stomach and rib, causing much pain and permanent damage on her body.
“The complainant is your de facto partner and she lives with you at Mele area for 1 year,” Chief Justice said.
“You did not have any children together and on January 1, 2019 in the afternoon, your brother Peter Nukur was drinking alcohol liquor and came to the house you live in with the complainant at Mele”.
The court heard that Mr. Nukur was accusing his brother’s partner for drinking alcohol on previous occasions and when she heard that she began to get upset.
This resulted in a violent discussion and the victim started revealing some alleged marital affairs his partner was having with other women to justify her drinking.
That was when her partner stood up and assaulted her.
She was on the ground crying and calling for help; the defendant did not take notice of her and went back inside the house while his brother said to leave her dead where she was lying.
Her sister was then transported her to the hospital and Dr. Vincent Atua who examined the complainant, found that she had internal bleeding and admitted her to the surgical ward – she suffered ruptured spleen and injury to her left kidney.
“Where an assault involves unprovoked violence and causes permanent serious injury, an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate,” Chief Justice said.
The judge said that her body is no longer physically fit as it was before the assault. She continues to feel pain in her body and she no longer does heavy work. The change of weather, affects her during cold.
She also continues to have fear as she may run into the defendant’s family who may not be happy about her because of the report she made to the police. She now lives in fear and not like before she not afraid.
After considering the aggravating factors, Justice Lunabek leveled the starting point sentence at three years imprisonment. He then lifted to one year to reflect the seriousness of the aggravation in this case.
“The appropriate starting point sentence is 4 years imprisonment taken the increase in the (Amendment) provision increasing the maxim penalty for this offence from 5 years to 10 years imprisonment since February 2017”, he said.
“In mitigation, I deduct 6 months for the fact that you do not have previous conviction.
“An additional three months to reflect on your remorse and a further six months to reflect the custom reparation or reconciliation you did to the complainant and she accepted despite refusing the first reconciliation attempt.
“Your sentence is now 33 months imprisonment.
“A further one third reduction of that to reflect your early guilty plea at the first opportunity given to you by the Court.
“You have an end sentence of 22 months’ imprisonment”.
He said Mr. Nasei already spent a period of two months and two weeks and three days in Pre-Custody period.
They will be deducted in his favour leaving the end sentence at 19 months, one week and four days’ imprisonment to be served with immediate effect.
He was then given time to go home but was ordered to return the next day with his belongings to serve his time.