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Jail time for domestic assault

Tuesday 25 October 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Court, Crime


Jail time for domestic assault

A man with a history of domestic violence has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment and warned not to ‘sweep his behaviour under the carpet’.

Morey Vati appeared before Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro at the Criminal Court in Avarua on Monday for sentencing. He had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault on a female on July 21, 2022.

Crown prosecutor Lisa William told the Court there were several aggravating features to the incident, which occurred on April 14, 2022.

According to the summary of facts, read out in Court, the incident occurred at his home in Titikaveka, after an argument.

The victim tried to escape from Vati and go into the kitchen, but Vati blocked the entrance to the door.

Vati then punched the victim in the face, which, according to the summary of facts, left the victim without vision in her right eye for several days. The victim’s father also entered the scene in an attempt to break Vati away, but Vati also assaulted him.

William told the Court that Vati also attempted to strangle the victim, who made “several attempts to escape the defendant”.

William also told the Court that Vati had a previous domestic violence conviction from 2019, which resulted in him being imprisoned for six months.

Vati also had several other violence-related convictions.

“The defendant does not display any remorse for his actions,” William told the Court.

Vati, who represented himself in Court, told JP Taoro that it was a “he said, she said” matter, and that his actions were in response to an attack from the victim.

Taoro told Vati that his guilty plea indicated he accepted the summary of facts.

Vati responded that he pleaded guilty because he just wanted his life back and not having the charge hang over him.

“You were provided with disclosures, this is a serious matter,” JP Taoro replied.

In sentencing Vati, JP Taoro set the starting point for the sentencing at 10 months, with an extra two months’ uplift for previous history of domestic assault, and a discount of four months for his early guilty plea.

Accordingly, JP Taoro sentenced Vati to eight months’ imprisonment, and 12 months’ probation. The conditions of probation included that Vati was not allowed to purchase or drink alcohol, or enter any licensed premises.

He also had to attend any court-ordered counselling services.

“Domestic violence is a serious offence. You cannot sweep what you have done under the carpet,” JP Taora said.